The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it declared the Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency by-election inconclusive due to cancellation of votes as a result of “over-voting.”
Returning Officer for the election, Dr. Wilfred Uji, announced this in Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.
Uji cited section 53 of the Electoral Act, which gives the commission the power to cancel election in polling units where there was over-voting.
Regardless, the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who revealed that INEC has conducted 127 elections in the last six months, said the electoral umpire had conducted 50 re-run elections in 16 states in obedience to court orders, while seven by-elections, occasioned by death or resignation had been conducted in five states.
The INEC boss said two more elections were organised at the weekend in Kwara and Nasarawa states due to the death of two members of Kwara State House of Assembly and the Federal House of Representatives respectively.
Yakubu, who spoke at a retreat organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Parties Matters in Abuja, at the weekend, also said INEC conducted three end-of- tenure elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). “ In t he c ase o f the FCT, it was one election, but conducted in 68 different constituencies-six council chairmen and 62 councillors. In addition, the courts have so far upturned 23 constituency elections – House of Representatives and state assemblies – and ordered the commission to withdraw certificates from candidates adjudged not to have been validly elected.
We have since complied and issued certificates to the rightful winners from the 2015 general election. We still have 31 more elections to conduct from the 2015 nullified elections, in addition to the forthcoming end-of-tenure elections for governorship in Edo (September) and Ondo (November) states.”
Yakubu , however, assured the commission’s resolve to conduct transparent, free and fair elections in the country.
Earlier, Uji explained why the by-election was inconclusive. “For Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency, we have a total number of 202,338 registered voters for the election out of which 76,475 were accredited and the total vote cast was 75,826 and we have 74,848 valid votes and the rejected votes stand at 978.
“The cancelled votes taken from the vote cast stand at 39,150 and the four political parties that participated at the by-election scored the following votes, APC scored 46,559; PDP scored 17,068; APGA 11,181 and Labour party (LP) got 40 votes.
“The marginal difference between the APC and PDP is 29,491, and the cancelled votes is 39,150, so, the cancelled votes exceeded the marginal difference between APC and PDP as a result of over- voting in some polling units of the constituency.”