From Hafsat Adebayo, Bauchi
The coalition of INEC accredited observers for the 2019 governorship election in Bauchi State has on Tuesday faulted the electoral body over abandonment of the rerun election already rescheduled to take place on 23rd March in Tafawa Balewa Local government following the cancellation of the local government results.
Speaking to Journalists in Bauchi, secretary of the coalition Comrade Peter Nwokolo flanked by the team’s leader Comrade Emeh Friday and other members opined that conducting the rerun election would be more acceptable to all parties and would also avoid unnecessary legal tussle as the key actors already made up their minds to put their acts together for another electoral contest.
He lamented that there were many irregularities in the 2019 general elections all over the country following the way and manner which the Independent National Electoral Commission has conducted and handled the presidential and governorship elections.
“There is discontentment everywhere. There is almost general disillusionment among the masses that, probably, INEC under Professor Mahmood Yakubu, could not very well handle the 2019 general elections”.
” As it stands now, there is fear that certain unscrupulous elements in Bauchi state and elsewhere could seize the opportunity of this seeming electoral lacuna to engage in hooliganism and wanton disorder in the state “. He feared.
The election observers therefore advised INEC to stand on their earlier position of cancelling the elections in Tafawa Balewa local government area and go ahead to conclude plans on the rerun election scheduled for 23rd March 2019 arguing that if the imbroglio is not resolved in favour of constitutionality, the upcoming governorship polls in Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo and Kogi states may be thrown into constitutional crisis.
“More so, the replacement of the returning officer with a fresh person is an indication of acceptance of fault by the INEC. Could it now be that it was INEC staff as Returning Officer that holds the burden of error in the whole inconsistencies? The mere excuse of fear of threat to life could only mean face-saving antics. If the Returning Officer had compromised the system, she should be made to face the consequences of her actions. ” The coalition urged.
” As independent Civil Society groups, our responsibility is to ensure that our constitutional democracy is deepened and strengthened as well as complied with all relevant sections of the constitution and electoral act,” they noted .