By Danladi Alhassan
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have boasted about their respective capacity to win the March 23 supplementary gubernatorial elections in six states.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed 23rd March for supplementary elections in Sokoto, Benue, Adamawa, Plateau, Kano and Bauchi states.
In Sokoto State, the APC, who said it has accepted in good faith the declaration of the election as inconclusive, claimed that declaration of the elections as inconclusive came at a time when the party was leading and has won more than the two-thirds majority of the votes, as required by the law. It said it is already mobilising its members and supporters for the supplementary elections.
Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, the APC Gubernatorial candidate in the state said the party will win the March 23 elections.
“Apt and accurate figures in our possession have shown that, I was already coasting to victory, yet, we directed our peaceful and lawful supporters to halt their celebrations.
“We have since directed them to embark on immediate and massive mobilisation of our supporters and the patriotic electorate, in readiness for the forthcoming rerun elections in 136 polling units across 22 local government areas to be conducted by INEC later.
“There is no cause for alarm, victory is ours, Insha Sha Allah,” he said.
On the other hand, Governor Aminu i Tambuwal, the PDP governorship candidate, had asked INEC to as a matter of fairness and justice declare him winner of the elections. He described the decision by the Returning Officer of INEC, Prof Fatima Mukhtar to declare the exercise inconclusive was unconstitutional.
He cited Section 179(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic stated that the provision clearly explained how to conduct governorship polls.
“Our party, the PDP has returned the highest number of votes and we have won 2/3 of the local governments in the state and therefore, the decision of INEC is not founded in law. We wonder why INEC is coming with this technical reason to declare the exercise inconclusive.” Tambuwal said.
He said the INEC decision would be put to test in the court.
“We have not been given substantial reasons for such decision. INEC should note that it has an image and integrity to protect as an agency and for its officials. It should not put its integrity to public questioning.
“Up till now (Monday), we have not been told why the cancellations of the exercise in 136 polling units across 22 local government areas. We know there are adverse factors that should be considered to warrant such decisions and not in all cases rerun should be conducted,”Tambuwal said.
He however said PDP would participate in the supplementary election. “Our court action will not stop us from participating. We want to make sure the right thing is done based on constitutional provisions,” he said.
In Plateau State, the APC said the party and its candidate were ready for the poll. The Chairman of Governor Simon Lalong’s Second Term Campaign Council (Media), Jonathan Ishaku, said the party had resolved from the moment INEC declared the election inconclusive that it was going to cooperate with INEC for the re-run.
“Obviously, the re-run is an exercise we need to use to justify the victory of our party at the poll. The people of the state have voted massively for the APC, the results are there.
“So, the re-run is in our interest and we welcome the new date with both arms,”he said.
The PDP in the state has also expressed its readiness and determination to win the supplementary election in the state.
John Akans, its State Publicity Secretary, said the date fixed by INEC is convenient for the party and its candidate.
“The re-run itself is a constitutional provision and, as a law abiding party, we will prepare and mobilise our supporters to come out and vote for our party,” Akans said.