Campaigning for Bakura bye-election with a cutlass

The Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed 9 December to conclude the Bakura State Constituency bye-election in Zamfara state.

Out of the nine state assembly bye-elections conducted on Saturday, it was the only one that was inconclusive.

In a statement by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC blamed disruptions of polling for the problem.

Okoye said the commission at its meeting today decided to remobilize and conclude the elections on Wednesday, 9th December.

His statement suggested INEC may hold the elections in some clusters.

“In order to ensure that the Supplementary Election is properly secured, the Commission is considering clustering the affected Polling Units to prevent the disruptions experienced on 5th December 2020.

“The details will be worked out by the INEC State Office in Gusau after consultation with stakeholders.

“The Commission warns all those who have no business with the conduct of the Supplementary Election to keep away from the 14 Polling Units as only election staff, security agencies, voters, accredited observers and media, as well as polling agents are entitled to be at the locations.

“The Commission is determined to conclude the election and will not condone further attacks on its staff and destruction of materials.

“We urge all the stakeholders to cooperate with the Commission for the successful conclusion of the Bakura State Constituency bye-election”.

Okoye also explained how the Bakura election became inconclusive.

“The Returning Officer declared the result inconclusive in line with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections.

“The election for Bakura State Constituency became inconclusive because the 2,181-vote margin between the two leading candidates – those of the PDP (18,645 votes) and APC (16,464) – is less than the total number of registered voters in 14 Polling Units where elections were cancelled or not held, which stands at 11,429.

“Consequently, by the “margin of lead principle”, the election could not be declared and no winner was returned. Voting in the 14 affected Polling Units was marred by over-voting, abduction of staff of the Commission, violence, assault occasioning grievous hurt against INEC officials, burning of INEC materials and snatching and carting away of sensitive electoral materials, resistance to the use of smart cards readers and obstruction of the electoral process.