Inconclusive election: Details of Buhari’s meeting with Bauchi governor emerge

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The Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of Saturday’s governorship supplementary election in the state.

Newsworth reports that Bauchi is among the six states where the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared the governorship election inconclusive, and scheduled a rerun for March 23, 2019.

Addressing State House Correspondents after meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Governor said he told Buhari that the electoral umpire introduced procedure not known to the laws of the land during the March 9 elections in the state.

He said “I briefed him (Buhari) on the issues surrounding the inconclusive elections, the Returning Officer for Bauchi State at the end of collation, rejected the result of Tafawa Balewa Local Government and then 36 other units spread around 15 local governments of Bauchi State and ordered a rerun.

“Surprisingly, we woke up one morning and the independent electoral commission came up with a procedure that is not known to law.

“Because, where a Returning Officer has declared the result, only an election petition tribunal can reverse the result. But INEC is attempting to reverse itself in the case of Bauchi. And when one juxtaposes that of Bauchi and other states with inconclusive elections, one wonders why that is happening only in Bauchi State.

“So, for that reason there is a need for me to come and brief Mr. President because that has the potential of touching on the security of the state.

“Of course, it is definitely extra illegal. It is a straightforward matter. The returning officer is the final arbiter even with respect to scores and declaration of result.

“And once he makes a declaration, no power can reverse that declaration except duly constituted court of the land.”
On what he expects the President to do over the matter knowing that INEC is independent, Abubakar said, “No no no. I said I came to brief Mr. President, I am not seeking any action of Mr. President. We all know Mr. President, he is a stickler for procedure.

“What I pointedly told him was that I am not here to seek for you to interfere on our behalf sir but to brief you on what is happening and what actions I have taken.”

On what actions he has taken, he said “One of which is that I am a lawyer and I am pursuing the legal angle. I briefed him and he emphasised on that legal angle that it is the best way to go.”

On the security of the state, the Governor said “We are on top of the situation, thank God. We have since ordered the van on procession in the metropolis and things are very very calm.”

He however clarified that his visit to the President was not indication that his visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over the issue last week was not fruitful, stressing that he was only following laid down procedures.

The Governor said “No no no. There are procedures in this matters and levels of authority. I am a stickler for procedure, I started at the right place and I have also ended up at the right place.”

On how he has prepared for the rerun elections, he said “If they are going to do it now, we are ready. I don’t know who is afraid of anyone in Tafawa Balewa.” Asked if he was confident to win the rerun election, he said “Insha Allah.”

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