There is no room for this in the Electoral Act 2010. Nothing like supplementary elections. The procedure is clear. We have General Elections, Bye Elections, Run off Elections and Re-Run Elections. When voters are disenfranchised for one reason or the other the Electoral Act doesn’t provide a remedy. Once results have been collated and the candidate with the highest number of votes has satisfied the provisions of sections 133, 134 or 179 of the 1999 constitution as the case maybe; and in line with section 69 of the Electoral Act 2010, results must be announced and a candidate declared winner.
In one of decided cases on elections in Nigeria by the court of appeal in Enugu in 2015 with Case No. CA/E/EPT/52/2015, between Hon. Helen Nwobasi Vs Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga & 2 others; the court held *’there is no provision of the Electoral Act enabling or requiring the returning officer of an election to declare the election inconclusive because the margin of victory between the two leading candidates is less than the total number of registered voters in the polling units whose elections were not held or cancelled, or for any reason. By virtue of section 69 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the only power a returning officer has in an election to any elective office is to count the votes and declare elected the candidate with the highest number of votes cast.’
It has also been held by the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in several decisions that INEC guidelines cannot be elevated above the clear provisions of the constitution and the Electoral Act.
In Bauchi South Senatorial bye elections held in August this year, the difference between the APC Candidate and PDP candidate was about 65,000 votes and the number of votes cancelled was over 80,000 in an election where about 256,000 persons voted. The APC Candidate was declared winner by INEC, but in the Osun case INEC declared the elections inconclusive where difference was 300 and votes cancelled were 3000. My question now is, why should INEC be so insincere or better still, why is INEC not upholding the indepence of the institution? Why do they always tend to favour the ruling party in elections? Why do they try to steal the mandate duly given to contestants in elections by the people, just because Nigerians are civil people? Please explain the role of INEC as a neutral umpire.
INEC should as a matter of urgency reverse their announced inconclusive Osun guber elections result and declare Sen. Adeleke of the PDP winner of the election or they will risk throwing Osun state, if not the entire South West into turmoil.
ISSOM Media Director.