IN a move which sparked outrage and incredulity in the polity, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), last week, fixed Saturday, March 9, to conduct supplementary elections in areas where elections were cancelled during the February 23 presidential/National Assembly elections.
Source : Nigerian Tribune
In a statement issued by its Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, the commission said that the supplementary polls would be conducted alongside the governorship and state houses of assembly elections previously scheduled for Saturday. Okoye, who noted that the decision was reached during the commission’s meeting with resident electoral commissioners (RECs) last Thursday in Abuja, said: “The meeting decided that supplementary elections will be conducted in all areas where elections did not take place and/or where returns could not be made on Saturday, 9th March alongside the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections. The meeting acknowledged the delays in the commencement of elections in a number of polling units which necessitated the extension of the closing of polls in the affected areas. The commission is determined to rectify the identified challenges before the elections on 9th March.”
When, during the February 23 elections, hoodlums snatched ballot boxes in several parts of the country, prevented voters from exercising their franchise, and committed murder and other grievous crimes, the expectation among the populace was that INEC would not announce the results of elections in the said areas, many of them said to be strongholds of the opposition parties, until supplementary elections had been conducted and the people’s mandate respected. Indeed, during the collation of results, many a party agent raised the issue but the INEC boss, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, noted that such questions would be addressed after the collation exercise. However, INEC’s announcement last week led to speculations regarding whether the supplementary elections would affect the results already announced, with some commentators asking whether the number of registered voters in areas where the supplementary presidential elections would be conducted would be up to the margin with which the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, defeated his main challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), namely 15,191,847 votes to 11,262,978 votes.