As pressure mounts on electoral umpire
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, urged Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to save its time and resources by declaring Aminu Tambuwal winner of the election held on March 9.
The party, which stated this while reacting to claim by the umpire that it was under pressure to declare the governor winner of the polls, said given the margin of victory recorded on the first ballot, there was no reason not to declare Tambuwal duly elected.
Spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Our position has not changed and we insist that His Excellency, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal should be declared winner of the governorship election in Sokoto State.
“If we go by the figure of votes collated so far, the governor has satisfied the provisions of the law because he won clearly in almost all the local governments of the states.
“What are they waiting for to declare him duly elected? We are a party that has respect for the laws of the land. So, we advise our members and supporters to remain calm because at the end of the day, victory is ours.”
Pressure on INEC
Meanwhile, barely a week to the March 23 date for the supplementary governorship election in some states, pressure continues to mount on INEC to declare Governor Aminu Tambuwal the winner of the March 9 guber poll in Sokoto State.
There were indications over the weekend that the tension in the seat of the Caliphate may worsen if the incumbent governor who was enjoying a clear lead in the poll is denied victory.
A top politician from Sokoto who spoke on condition of anonymity, said tension was building up in the state over fears of plans to undemocratically stop Tambuwal for another term in office.
Our source alleged that though the governor appears to be the popular choice of his people as shown in the collated result of the guber poll, the power brokers of All Progressives Congress, APC, were bent on taking the state which they consider strategic to the party’s future political plans.
Our source said: “The powers that be should declare Tambuwal as the authentic winner of the March 9 governorship election in Sokoto State. The collated result showed that he won the election by the simple majority, which is what the constitution provides. They should not set the seat of the Caliphate on fire.
“Remember that even President Muhammadu Buhari won his election by the same simple majority. He was declared winner, even when elections were yet to be conducted in areas where the exercise could not hold because of one reason or the other.
“A common man on the street of Sokoto knows that Tambuwal won the election. There were so many hurdles the APC which controls the centre put before him ahead of the election but he surmounted them all. So, what they could not get democratically, they want by all means through the back door in collaboration with INEC.”
Over the weekend, this newspaper gathered that there were fears in the PDP, of a plan by the ruling party and INEC to repeat what happened in the Osun governorship election where the PDP lost to the APC under controversial circumstances.
A video recording between the INEC Admin Secretary in Sokoto and a collation officer which trended over the weekend further escalated fears of interference in the coming supplementary election.
The video which was in Hausa but translated to English, showed an exchange between the INEC Admin Secretary in Sokoto and the collation officer.
The exchange between them ran thus: Admin Sec to Collation officer….This is the number of votes scored by one candidate, this is the total secured by the other candidate and this is the difference in votes between them…
Collation officer: Yes
Admin officer: You must refer to the total number of registered voters in the cancellation areas and compare that with the margin of votes between the leading candidate and the one next to him, do you understand?
Collation officer: Yes I do
Admin officer: Then you will just announce the votes secured by every candidate but you should not declare the winner, do you understand?
Collation officer: Yes
Admin officer: You will say the election is inconclusive, and you are leaving it to INEC to decide, do you get it?
Collation officer: Yes, I do
Admin officer: You will not declare a winner, do you understand
Collation officer: …Yes
Recall that the INEC declared the March 9 governorship election in Sokoto inconclusive and claimed that the decision was because 75, 403 votes were cancelled, which were higher than 3, 413 margin difference between the PDP candidate and his rival in APC.
The returning officer, Fatima Mukhtar, said the margin of win was lower than the number of rejected votes, hence, the election was declared inconclusive.
In the results declared by INEC, Mr Tambuwal was leading his closest rival, Ahmed Aliyu of the APC, with a margin of 3,413 votes.
Speaking on the development at a press conference, the governor had observed there was no cause for the election to be declared inconclusive.
Though the governor said the INEC was yet to communicate to him the reasons for cancellation of votes in the 136 polling units, he said it was necessary to draw the attention of the electoral umpire to its guidelines for the exercise.
He stated that the issue of margin difference was technical and alien to the Nigerian constitution which stipulates a simple majority and 25 percent of votes cast in two-thirds majority of states of the federation, as basis for determining a winner.
“This technical reason of margin differences has not been applied in Osun and Ekiti elections,” Tambuwal said, arguing that since he secured the higher number of votes at the concluded election, he ought to have been declared the winner.
He said: “Going by Section 179(2) of the Constitution as amended, there was no clause