The Independent National Electoral Commission has approved the resumption and conclusion of the collation of results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State which had been declared inconclusive.
The commission specifically approved the appointment of a new Collation/Returning Officer for Tafawa Balewa LGA to continue and conclude the collation process.
The new personnel would replace the Head of Department of Estate Management at Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Mrs. Dominion Anosike, who withdrew from the exercise over alleged threats to her life and those of her family members.
A statement issued and signed by INEC National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the Collation process for Tafawa Balewa LG would resume on Tuesday March 19 2019.
With this development, the crisis over the declaration of the Bauchi State governorship election which was declared inconclusive may have been brought to an end.
The statement reads: “On March 12 2019 INEC considered a report submitted by the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bauchi State on the disruption of the Collation process at the Tafawa Balewa Collation Centre which led to the cancelation of results for the entire LG.
“The commission found that there are issues that need further investigation and set up a committee for that purpose. The committee found out that the governorship and State Assembly elections were held on March 9 2019 in Tafawa Balewa LGA and the votes scored by candidates were announced at the Polling Units and collated at the 11 Registration Areas of the LG.”
INEC said it was also found out that halfway into the LG collation, armed gangs attacked the collation centre and destroyed the LG Result Sheet (EC8C) and some collated results from the Registration Areas.
The results of seven out of 11 Registration Areas for governorship and six out of 11 for State Assembly elections were affected.
Our correspondent reported that INEC guidelines provided that where violent disruption affects collation in such manner, results should be regenerated from duplicate copies on a replacement result sheet.
Okoye said, “The Collation Officer, under pressure from party agents who could not wait for the arrival of a replacement result sheet, decided to collate the result on an available RA result sheet instead of the replacement LGA result sheet.
“When the result was presented at the State governorship Collation Centre, the Returning Officer rejected the regenerated result because it was on a wrong result sheet. The investigation committee established that the result in Polling Units and Registration Areas are available and in safe custody.
“The investigation committee also established that the number of cancelled votes for the 4 Polling Units in Ningi LGA which was recorded as 25,330 in Form EC40G (1) was incorrect. The actual figure is 2,533.
“Consequently, the commission approved the resumption and conclusion of the collation of results of Tafawa Balewa LGA in relation to the governorship election as the duplicate and original Registration Area results are available.
“The commission approved the resumption, conclusion and announcement of the result of the Tafawa Balewa State constituency and the appointment of a new Collation/Returning Officer for Tafawa Balewa LG to continue and conclude the collation process in place of the original Collation Officer who withdrew from the exercise citing threats to her life and those of her family members.
“The Collation process for Tafawa Balewa LG will resume on Tuesday March 19 2019. The commission directed that the error in the total number of cancelled votes in four polling units in Ningi LGA should be corrected from 25,330 to 2,533. The commission appeals to all stakeholders for continuous support and understanding.”