Human rights lawyer Olisa Agbakoba, and a former minister of transportation, Ebenezer Babatope, have faulted the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare gubernatorial elections in six states across the country inconclusive.
INEC Monday declared gubernatorial elections in Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa and Plateau inconclusive, the action is however, the first time since 1999 when the nation returned to democracy.
The commission also stopped the announcement of results in Rivers State due to the violence that engulfed the state during the polls. Candidates of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) were leading in some of the states.
But speaking in separate interviews with BusinessDay, Thursday, Agbakoba and Babatope stated that INEC’s decision was suspicious, and stressed that the action needed to be carefully investigated.
Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), however said the commission’s action could only be justified if the number of voided votes was more than the number of lead votes between the candidates in the states.
“I can’t say the PDP does not have a point, because when you look at the states whose elections have been declared inconclusive, it raises eye-brows and you want to ask why is it that they are only states where the PDP candidates are leading?”
He said that INEC could only declare an election inconclusive where the margin of lead is less than the votes that were voided.
But Babatope, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees (BOT) however, noted that the party was worried about INEC’s action, stressing that the will of Nigerians must prevail.
“We are concerned about the action of INEC. You can see that our candidates were leading in these states. I hope that the APC magicians would allow the election to be free and fair,” said.
PDP, he said, would “wait and see.”