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Inconclusive elections: Don’t subvert the people’s will, Reps tell INEC

The House of Representatives has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to subvert the will of the people by declaring elections inconclusive.

This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion of Matter of Urgent National Importance by Rep. Sunday Karimi (PDP-Kogi) at the plenary on Wednesday.

The House urged the Commission to adhere to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and allow aggrieved parties to proceed to relevant tribunals in order to ensure peace, security and promote the credibility of the process.

Moving the motion earlier, Karimi said that prior to the 2015 Governorship election in Kogi, there were very few cases of inconclusive elections and reruns.

He said the frequent cases of inconclusive elections in the last four years had made some Nigerians to refer to the electoral umpire as “Inconclusive National Electoral Commission”.

Karimi said that though the Constitution empowers INEC to come up with guidelines, some sections of the Electoral Guidelines were causing apprehension.

He said that Governorship election was declared inconclusive in six states of Benue, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau, Sokoto and Adamawa in spite of the fact that the leading candidates had met the provisions of the Constitution in Section 179(2).

Rep. Aliyu Madaki (PDP-Kano State) said that the Constitution was very clear on what was required to declare an election inconclusive.

He said that INEC had no power to declare an election inconclusive when there was no controversy at the polling unit.

Madaki said INEC must not be allowed to declare an election inconclusive either at ward or state level and called on all stakeholders to resist the trend.

The legislator said that power comes from God and that declaring an election inconclusive to subvert the will of the people would not be acceptable in Kano State.

Rep. Henry Achibung (PDP-Akwa Ibom) identified high level of insincerity as the problem in the electoral system.

He questioned the independence of INEC and charged the incoming 9th National Assembly to amend the Constitution to grant the electoral umpire total independence.

Also, Rep. Abubakar Chika (APC-Niger) said that the rising level of inconclusive elections in the country was worrisome.

He said that if any election result was declared, those responsible for the discrepancies must be held accountable.

Chika said that the spate of inconclusive elections must be stemmed before it truncated the nation’s democracy.

Rep. Diri Douye (PDP-Delta) blamed inconclusive elections on the National Assembly which has responsibility to make laws.

He said, “when we are supposed to do the right thing, we are divided along party lines, forgetting that we are first Nigerians.

“We must do the right thing and change the voting system from manual to electronic voting system and demilitarise elections in this country.

“The true problem lies in the National Assembly.”

In his contribution, the Majority Leader of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos) said that the only way to stop inconclusive elections was by amending the Constitution.

He urged the House to set up a crack team to amend the relevant laws to stem the tide of inconclusive elections.

Gbajabiamila said that the Governor of Sokoto State had gone to court to seek interpretation of the law that allows INEC to declare election inconclusive and urged the House to tarry a while for the judgement.

The spokesman for the House, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas (APC-Adamawa) blamed the problem on desperate politicians.

Namdas said there was a need for some politicians to change their attitude toward elections, saying it was wrong to use resources to influence electoral process and officers on election duty.

He said the House should amend the relevant laws to make it difficult for politicians to influence the electoral process.

In the end, the House resolved to set up a committee to advise it on the next line of action.

Dele Fashomi
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.