The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed a report by PREMIUM TIMES which exclusively revealed that the election umpire would regenerate and reinstate the cancelled votes from Tafawa Balewa local government in Bauchi.
The result from the local government was cancelled because the local government collating officer, Dominion Anosike, after the collation centre was sacked by thugs who snatched away the authentic result sheet, recorded the result on a replacement form without the approval of the state’s returning officer as required by INEC’s guideline.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the investigative committee set up by INEC to review the case of Tafawa Balewa had resolved to regenerate the result from the local government using duplicate result sheets from polling units and wards in the local government.
In a statement released by INEC on Saturday morning, the commission announced that results from the polling units and registration areas in the local government are available and in safe custody”.
It therefore decided to “approved the resumption and conclusion of the collation of results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in relation to the Governorship election as duplicate and original Registration Area results are available.”
The commission also announced that it would appoint a new collation officer for Tafawa Balewa after Mrs Anosike “withdrew from the exercise citing threats to her life and those of her family members.”
In a letter to the Chiarman of INEC, Mrs Anosike, a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, indicated that she has gone into hiding.
She however said she was ready to testify about what happened during the collation process but would only do that in Abuja as she has been threatened with instant death if found in and around Bauchi.
INEC stated that the disrupted collation process for Tafawa Balewa would esume on Tuesday, March 19.
The Case of Ningi Local Government
After the collation of 19 local governments of the 20 in the state, the APC trailed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Bala Muhammed, with 4,059 votes. The APC scored a total of 465,453 votes against the PDP’s 469,512 votes.
Muhammed Kyari, the state’s returning officer, also announced that the number of cancelled votes from the announced local governments was 45, 312 votes.
However, in Friday’s statement INEC announced that there was an error in the number of cancelled votes from Ningi local government. According to the commission, instead of 2,533 that was the actual number of cancelled votes from the local government, 25,330 was recorded.
The commission said the correction would be made during the resumption of the collation process on Tuesday.
According to the results announced at the Tafawa Balewa collation centre, which was rejected by the returning officer, the PDP also has a healthy lead there. It scored 40,010 votes against the APC’s 29,862 votes.
If the result is accepted as PREMIUM TIMES has learnt, it will extend the PDP’s lead in the election to 14,207 votes.
However, with the correction of the error in Ningi, the number of cancelled votes will be reduced from 45,312 to 17,449 votes, which will make the possibility of an APC win more difficult.