Kano, northern Nigeria’s most populous state on the brink of chaos as APC rigging attempts escalate Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 27, 2021


Northern Nigeria’s most populous state was on the brink of chaos on Sunday after attempts by the ruling All Progressives Congress to rig the supplementary elections conducted on Saturday escalated.

The Independent National Electoral Commission suspended the collation of results in Kano, after hoodlums unleashed terror at polling units.

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Resident Electoral Commissioner, Riskuwa Shehu, announced the suspension of collation of results on Sunday morning, citing the invasion of Nasarawa  local government collation centre by thugs.

“As we were waiting to reconvene with the intention to continue with the collation, we heard a disturbing report that just as they were about to conclude, results collation in Nasarawa local government were disrupted and the result sheet torn away and there was a lot of commotion and the police had to rescue some people,” Shehu told journalists at the briefing, according to local media.

“As it is now, we don’t have the result and even the E. O. (Electoral Officer) had to be rescued. Luckily, nothing happened to him. He was saved from the crisis.

“But the intention of the commission is that we are going to refer to our primary and secondary data of results that were collated from the polling units as well as the ward level.

“When we get the results in the presence of all the representatives of political parties, we will regenerate the results and we will confirm those that are acceptable within our laws and guidelines and those that have to be cancelled because the card readers will have to be referred to as well.

“Based on that, we will have genuine results and we will complete the collation for the state governorship election,” he said.

One account said Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC deployed thugs in 600 buses to all the re-run polling units in Kano on Saturday. They unleashed hell and stole election materials.

Many of the thugs were deployed to GAMA ward In Nasarawa local government area where residents were not allowed to vote, the account said.

It was even alleged that the Police DIG sent to Kano from Abuja, the Nigerian capital, by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Inspector General of Police collected bribe from Governor Ganduje and refused to allow the uncompromising police commissioner and other local police officers in Kano to do their job and arrest the thugs.

The famous and no-nonsense Kano Police Commissioner Wakili was said to have announced publicly to the media that he will not sign INEC final results.

Meanwhile, early results from areas where the re-run election held in Kano showed that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the APC and Abba Kabir-Yusuf of the PDP were running neck and neck in the supplementary polls, with PDP having a lead because of the previous election win declared inconclusive by INEC.

Saturday’s election held in 208 polling units in 29 local governments with 128,831 voters.

The PDP candidate had polled 1,014,474 votes during the first election, while the APC scored 987,819 votes, a difference of 26,655 votes.

As violence escalated across the state, the  opposition PDP called on INEC to immediately declare its candidate, Abba K. Yusuf, winner of the Kano State governorship election.

PDP said he scored the highest number of lawful votes and secured the statutory 25 per cent in two-thirds of the state.

In a statement, PDP said no valid polling held in the March 23 Kano supplementary elections, adding that no figures can be fabricated from the exercise to displace Abba Yusuf’s lead of over 26,000 votes.

According to the Saturday statement signed by the PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan,  “INEC is already aware that its supplementary election in Kano was completely disrupted by thugs contracted by the APC, who invaded polling units and chased away voters. The commission therefore cannot accept fabricated figures being bandied by the APC as results from the scuttled rerun.

“The people of Kano State have since made up their minds to have Abba Yusuf as their governor and any attempt by anybody to subvert their will, as already expressed in the March 9 substantive poll, will surely attract the legitimate anger of the masses.

“We therefore call on INEC to immediately do the needful by respecting the will of the people as freely expressed on March 9 and announce Abba Yusuf, the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, as the winner of the election, having fulfilled the demands of Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),” the party said.

Meanwhile, the incumbent governor  and APC candidate  in Plateau State Simon Bako Lalong has been declared winner of the rerun election in the state.

In the result announced on Sunday morning by INEC, Lalong scored 595,582 votes to defeat Senator Jeremiah Useni of the PDP who got 546,813 votes.

“It was a tragic experience for a local government collation officer for Gboko Local Government Area, Comfort Dooshima, as she was shot by unknown gunmen in Makurdi, the Benue State,” Leadership said.

“Ms Doshima, a professor and lecturer at the University of Agriculture, was on her way to the INEC headquarters, Makurdi, to present results from the local government.

“She was rushed to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital”.

Benue is one of five states where supplementary governorship elections were held on Saturday. The others are Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi and Kano.

LEADERSHIP Sunday reports that Governor Samuel Ortom of the PDP was cruising to victory from the results so far collated. Results of the supplementary governorship poll in Benue State announced so far indicated that the incumbent governor, Samuel Ortom, was leading in the 16 out of the 22 local governments affected.

Of the 16 local governments so far announced, the PDP candidate had polled a total of 11,166 to beat his closest opponent, APC’s Emmanuel Jime who scored a total of 6,420 votes. Results from six local government were pending.

Out of the 23 local governments of the state, the supplementary governorship polls were to be held in 22 LGs and nine for state House of Assembly seats.

In the first round of the election held on Saturday, March 9, 2019, Ortom had polled 410,576 votes against Jime’s 329,022 votes, leading the later with a margin of 81,554 votes.

The election was however declared inconclusive and yesterday was fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the conclusion of supplementary elections.

Meanwhile, unknown gunmen were reported to have attacked the convoy of INEC personnel returning to Makurdi collation centre from Gboko local government after the governorship and state assembly supplementary polls.

The attack, according to the Resident Commissioner, Dr Nentawe Yilwatda, took place in Tarka local government where he said the Gboko local government collation officer for the governorship election, Professor Comfort Tuleun was hit by bullets.

According to him, the victim is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.

”At about 8:30pm this evening an attack was launched on a convoy of INEC personnel returning to Makurdi Collation Centre from Gboko LGA after the close of the Governorship and State Assembly Supplementary polls by unknown gunmen.

“In the course of the attack on the convoy including INEC permanent and ad hoc staff as well as security agencies at Tarka LGA, Prof. Comfort Tuleun, the Gboko LGA Collation Officer for the governorship election was hit by bullets and she is currently receiving treatment.

“The wounded collation officer is from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM).

“INEC regrets this unfortunate incident and calls on security agencies to work tirelessly to apprehend these miscreants and bring them to judgment.
”Meanwhile, as a result of this incident, the commission has no choice but to appoint Dr Joseph Mom of FUAM to replace the wounded official.”

In Sokoto State, violence, ballot box snatching and vote buying characterised the rerun polls on Saturday. Thugs in uniforms were said to have disrupted the electoral process in parts of the state.

“As collation went on in Sokoto State, available results  showed that it could go either way. However, barring any last-minute exigency, the results collated so far at the Sultan Maccidio Institute of Quranic and General studies showed that the PDP was still in the lead in 18 of the 22 local governments announced where re-run took place.

“The results for the 18 LGAs showed that PDP had cumulatively polled 10,499 as against APC’s 10,338. PDP had a lead vote of about 3,413 from the previous election. When added to the total so far polled by the PDP, it means the party is leading with 3524 from the results announced so far, while results for the remaining 4 local governments are still been awaited.
The local governments whose results were yet to be announced include  Sabon Birni, Kebbe, Gada and Goronyo,” LEADERSHIP Sunday said, adding that the results for some of the local governments, especially like Kebbe, were delayed because of disagreement.

The supplementary election in Sokoto State witnessed pockets of violence and vote buying.

The newspaper reported that there was drama at a polling unit in Bauchi State when voters chased politicians from disrupting the process at Kagadama polling unit in Dass Local Government Area of the state.

“They resisted every attempt by the politicians to come near the polling unit as soon as they sighted them. The voters also insisted that they would remain on the queue despite the fracas, adding that they were determined to vote for the candidates of their choice,” LEADERSHIP said.
 
The newspaper said low turnout of voters trailed Saturday ’s supplementary House of Assembly election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State in five local councils.

The March 9 elections in the affected LGAs which included Ngor-Okpala, Isu, Orlu, Oguta and Ikeduru were declared inconclusive by INEC as a result of irregularities.

Saturday’s exercise was largely peaceful in the 179 affected polling units with materials arriving on time and accreditation beginning at 8.30 a.m.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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