By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS—Ahead the Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections across the country, the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, has raised concern over ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC , to conduct credible exercise.
The group claimed that after declaration of All Progressives Congress, APC as winner of the Bauchi North senatorial election, INEC officials were forced to falsify results to allegedly deny their candidate his mandate.
The party added that results of elections at two of the seven Local Governments that constitute the senatorial district were also not announced at collation center, as stipulated by the electoral law, but was transferred and announced elsewhere.
Addressing pressmen, at the weekend, in Lagos, Chairman of the party, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, maintained that while results were announced at the designated collation centers within the other five local governments, results for Gamawa and Zaki councils were not declared.
Other councils that constitute the senatorial constituency are: Katagum, Itas Gadau, Shira, Giade and Jama’are.
Aniebonam alleged that the party’s candidate was denied his mandate after some individuals within the constituency allegedly realized the votes polled were more than that of the APC candidate that did not even campaign before the election.
He stressed that NNPP would not hesitate to approach the court to reclaim the mandate from the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senatorial candidate, Mohammed Bulkachuwa, who was declared winner by INEC.
INEC returning officer, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, had after the election announced Bulkachuwa as winner after he polled 110, 631 votes and that Mustapha farouq of NNPP and Nazif Gamawa of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, came second and third respectively.
Kicking against the declaration, Aniebonam emphasized that they already have all evidence within their custody “to take our mandate back using the instrument of the law because our candidate was already leading by about 10,000 votes before the act.”
According to him, for the record, our party is in possession of video evidence of what transpired at Gamawa village in Bauchi State where electoral officers were kidnapped and forced to alter results to close the gap between other candidate and ours who was in clear lead during the collation of results.
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“It is bizarre and against the electoral law that election results for Gamawa and Zaki local governments were not declared at the unit but transferred to Azare for announcement,” he added.
The chairman, however, argued that their fear was if the alleged falsification of election results continued during forthcoming gubernatorial and House of Assembly election, it would result in violence.
“Our fear is that these agents of darkness may want to explore this ignoble route again in March 9th, 2019 elections. This might have consequences which may affect the peace of the state. We did our best to risk-manage the rampaging voters whose will and choice were denied.”
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Aniebonam, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “send out strong signals to Nigerians that he will never be part of the process that changes the peoples will.”
Menwhile, while congratulating Buhari for his victory at the poll, the chairman urged that he embrace every channel to communicate the policies and programmes of his administration to the citizens.
He noted that the president would have garnered more votes during the poll if he had done better with communication, saying, several issues are still hanging, awaiting his public declaration either to support or against.