Nigeria ruling party wins state vote, chaos mars other poll

Nigeria’s ruling party has won a rerun governorship election in northern Kebbi state, the electoral commission said on Sunday, while procedural chaos led to the suspension of the vote count in another state.

Voters went to the polls on Saturday to elect new governors in Kebbi and Adamawa states following what the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said was due to “inconclusive” elections during the March 18 governorship polls.

Supplementary parliamentary elections were also held in some areas on Saturday.

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Nigerians on February 25 elected former Lagos state governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as president.

He is to succeed incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who steps down on May 29 after two terms in office.

However, Tinubi’s victory is being challenged in court by the opposition over alleged irregularities and fraud.

Governorship polls were held in 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states on March 18.

Off-season polls had earlier been held in eight states as a result of a court ruling.

The elections in Kebbi and Adamawa were to determine the winners in governorship races between candidates of the APC and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In Kebbi, INEC declared APC candidate Nasir Idris the winner with 409,225 votes, beating his PDP rival Aminu Bande who scored 360,944.

The electoral umpire had declared the Kebbi governorship election inconclusive following the cancellation of results in the 142 polling units due to allegations of electoral fraud.

INEC ordered a rerun because the initial 45,278-margin between the two candidates was lower than the number of eligible voters in the affected polling units.

With the Kebbi supplementary election, APC now has 16 governors, followed by PDP with nine, and Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) with one each.

Procedural chaos unfolded in Adamawa state, however, when the electoral commissioner usurped the role of the returning officer and declared APC candidate Aisha Dahiru Binani the winner.

The returning officer had adjourned the final vote count when the resident electoral commissioner publicly announced Binani the winner, prompting INEC to suspend collation of results.

Binani, the only woman running in the governorship elections, is facing off against incumbent Ahmad Fintiri of the PDP.

“The action of the REC (resident electoral officer) is a usurpation of the power of the returning officer. It is null, void and of no effect,” INEC said in a statement.

“Consequently, the collation of results of the supplementary election is hereby suspended,” the statement added.

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