By BEN AGANDE
ABUJA—AS exclusively reported by Vanguard, yesterday, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the postponement of the governorship elections in Kaduna and Bauchi states because of the precarious security situations in the two states.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said at a news conference, yesterday, that the postponement would allow for tension to calm down and also allow the commission to secure additional personnel in case members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, were scared because of recent developments.
Jega also debunked allegations by the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, that the Excel sheet used in the collation of the results by INEC was skewed against the party.
He said that instead of holding the elections on April 26, 2011, the elections in Bauchi and Kaduna states would be held on April 28, adding that the commission acted based on reports from security agencies.
Jega said: “In the past few days, the Commission, in conjunction with security agencies, NYSC and the political parties has carefully been assessing the feasibility of holding the upcoming April 26 elections in the states most affected by the violence.
The assessment shows that there is marked improvement in security in some of the states for the election to hold. However, in others, specifically Kaduna and Bauchi states, the security remains a source of concern. Consequently, the commission is constrained to postpone the April elections in the two states in accordance with Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) from April 26 to April 28, 2010.”
He explained that the commission could not postpone the elections beyond two days because doing so would be in violation of the electoral law which provides that no election should be held thirty days before the swearing in of another governor.
INEC order re-run in Anambra Central and Ika polls
On the Anambra Central Senatorial District election, Jega said the commission had decided that the election was inconclusive and has ordered a re_run in the Anambra central senatorial district and Ika Federal Constituency polls.
On Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, the INEC chairman said investigations were still on going and the commission would make its position known after investigation had been concluded.
Speaking on the allegations by the Congress for Progressive Change that the Excel sheets used for the collation of result from some states were designed to reduce its votes in such states, Jega said the allegations were totally unfounded.
He noted that though the collation process at the state level was manual, “for administrative purposes, we designed an Excel sheet to enable us to simultaneously enter the results as they are announced by local government collation officers.”
Jega explained that the rationale was that the commission wanted a means of “cross checking the entries and computations done manually on form EC.8D for accuracy and also to authenticate the results on Form EC.8D when they are finally delivered at the national collation centre in Abuja.”
He added: “I must emphasize that the Excel sheet was only an aid to check accuracy and authenticity of the manually collated results. It was not a substitute for Form EC.8D which was filled manually and signed by the state collation officer and party agents present at the state collation centres and which is legally admissible results for return.
“What happened in Kano and Katsina states was that in writing the Excel formula, errors were made in the number of local governments in those states. Consequently, the totals were generally less than what was manually entered in Form EC.8D because the Excel formula was not summing results for all the local governments in the sheets.
Expectedly, the faults were immediately detected by cross checking the formula in the sheets. Our staff in the states brought this to the attention of the headquarters and the formula were immediately corrected.”
Jega condemn the attack on members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, saying that more security measures would be put in place to ensure the safety of all NYSC members that would take part in the remaining elections.