Groups allege double standards in INEC release of election results
The Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of double standards in declaration of election results.
The Executive Director, Idris Miliki Abdul, challenged INEC to explain the reason it declared the result of the recent National Assembly by-election in Kogi State conclusive while it pronounced the Osun State governorship poll as inconclusive.
Abdul spoke at a one-day workshop on the role of media and civil society groups in anti corruption, transparency and accountability in elections organized by the CHRCR, in partnership with the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation.
“I cannot conclude this remark by not making reference to the just concluded bye-election in Lokoja-Kotokarfe Federal Constituency conducted on the 11th August, 2018 and relating it to the pronouncement of INEC in respect of Osun State governorship election held on 22nd September, 2018.
“If INEC could declare that election inconclusive as a result of cancelled votes that outnumbered the difference between the two leading political parties as provided for by both INEC guidelines and the electoral law in Nigeria, on what basis was the Kogi bye-election declared conclusive by the same INEC in Kogi State where votes were also cancelled?”
Abdul urged the electoral body to quizze its officials involved in the electoral rape in Kogi where 19, 960 votes were cancelled in 17 polling units and the difference between the two leading parties was barely 11,000 votes.
He harped on the need for journalists to be vigilant and fair in their reportage so as to consolidate the current democratic experience.
The chairman, Kogi State Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Adeiza Momoh Jimoh, said INEC must thread carefully as the country prepared for another round of elections next year.
The declaration of the Osun poll as inconclusive has made Nigerians and other followers of political events in the country to become more confused. INEC should not set the country on fire, he cautioned.
Jimoh said he was at a lost as to the aspect of the electoral guidelines, laws or the constitution the electoral umpire relied on in declaring the governorship poll in Osun inconclusive, while it declared the recent Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency poll conclusive, after cancelling results of election in 17 polling units.
“Since Nigeria is not a banana republic, there is need for the laws of the country to be implemented to the letter, not minding whose ox is gored. There is need for INEC to be firm in handling electoral matters with a view to consolidating on the nation’s democracy”.
He enjoined the security agencies to maintain neutrality so as not to heighten tension in the country ahead of the general elections.
“The situation where somebody was cleared while contesting for senatorial poll, only to be confronted with certificate issue while contesting for governorship election called for serious concern.”