Saturday, September 25, 2021

Kogi West: Conduct elections in all affected polling units or forget about it, Melaye tells INEC

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Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for the Kogi West senatorial rerun election, Senator Dino Melaye, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not to exclude any polling centre affected by violence and disruption in the November 16 rerun, from the rescheduled supplementary rerun slated for Saturday, November 30.

Mr Melaye says if the apparent anomalies in the rescheduled supplementary rerun are not addressed, then it becomes imperative for INEC to postpone the November 30 rerun if the commission is truly independent and unbiased.

He expressed his reservations in a new petition to the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, a week after presenting a petition to the commission on the disputed Kogi West rerun election earlier held on November 16, 2019.

After presenting the letter, which he described “additional petition” at the INEC national headquarters on Wednesday, Mr Melaye also met with the commission’s National Commissioner, Legal, May Agbamuche-Mbu, behind closed doors for about one hour.

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Addressing journalists thereafter, he called on INEC to postpone the election, until it was able to address what he described as ‘noticeable infractions’ in the November 16 election and concerns over areas where the November 30 supplementary election will be held.

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He added that he wondered why the rush by INEC to conduct the supplementary rerun election when the Appeal Court which nullified the initial election ordered a fresh election within 90 days.

Recall that Mr Melaye had on Wednesday, November 20, submitted a petition, calling for total cancellation of the rerun election, to which he attached 21 video CDs and other documentary evidence to prove that there was no election in all the seven local government areas of the district.

He said he was at INEC office because he was yet to get a response to his earlier petition, adding that there was also no public announcement that a panel was set up to investigate the issues raised in the petition.

Mr Melaye further explained that he was also there to submit additional facts to those in his earlier petition, which, according to him, were unknown to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

“What is new in what we have submitted today is that we have attached a copy of form EC8B of Ward A in Lokoja Local Government area, where INEC, during collation, had cancelled results of nine out of 23 polling units in the LGA.”

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He added that results were cancelled in other polling units during collation, including Abugi, Ole and other places, but these were not captured among the areas where INEC said that supplementary poll would take place on November 30.

“What we are saying is: how can INEC cancel these polling units during collation process and they will not be captured in places where rerun will take place?

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“We believe this is an aberration, and the INEC chairman cannot know about it and allow it to stay,” he said.

Mr Melaye said there were also lots of places where elections were supposed to have been cancelled by INEC, but which were not.

These, he said, included Lokogoma and Adanko in Lokoja, where, he said, three people were killed during the Nov. 16 election.

“Unfortunately, results were returned in those places. We are saying that INEC must be neutral and cancel elections in areas where there were violence.”

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Another infraction cited by Mr Melaye was that in Koko Quarters, Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ward 1 in Ijumu LGA, the election was peaceful, result collated, declared and won by the PDP, but was now part of the areas where the supplementary would take place on Saturday.

Another error, Mr Melaye said, was that the unit was listed under Egbeda-Ega ward, adding that he could not understand why this was so.

“I want to say that with all these fractions put together, INEC must, as a matter of transparency and national interest, postpone the Saturday supplementary election.”

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Mr Melaye said he was not calling for any support or cooperation, but just wanted INEC to do the needful by cancelling elections in areas where there were cases of violence and ballot box snatching and conduct fresh elections where results were cancelled.

Senator Mr Melaye was accompanied by top PDP leaders in Kogi West, including Olushola Akanmode, a former Deputy Chief of Staff to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, among others.

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