Rumors are ripe on social media that Kano’s gubernatorial elections might be declared inconclusive. But there is absolutely no basis in law to take such an action. Here is why:
By and under Paragraph 41 (e) of the Election Manual 2019, a gubernatorial election can only be declared inconclusive where “the margin of lead between the two leading candidates is not in excess of the total number of registered voters of the Polling Unit(s) where election was cancelled or not held in line with Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act, the returning officer shall decline to make a return until polls have taken place in the affected Polling Unit(s) and the results incorporated into new form EC 8D and subsequently recorded into form EC 8E for Declaration and Return.”
Note that by the provision of the above paragraph election cannot be declared inconclusive if there units in which elections didn’t take place due the reasons outline under Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 or where results were in line with Section 53 of the Act. Now, let’s examine these sections separately.
Section 26 provides for situation where election did not hold in some polling units due threat of serious breach of peace or natural disasters or other emergencies. If any these happened, elections might be postponed in those units in which case the election may declared inconclusive if the margin doesn’t exceed the number of registered voters in the postponed units.
It is clear that section 26 doesn’t apply in the situation in question because there was no serious threat or actual breach of peace that elections impracticable in Kano and voting took place every where in the state.
Coming to section 53 of the Electoral Act, the Section ONLY contemplates where results were cancelled due to over voting in which case the results would be canceled and another polls conducted for the units.
Again, Section 53 doesn’t apply to the gubernatorial election in Kano because there are no reported cases of any polling units in Kano. To my knowledge, no polling unit was cancelled because of over voting. If there were cancellations for other reasons, they certainly do not fall with the purview of paragraph 41 and thus will not render the results inconclusive. If there were cancellations for over voting, they are certainly not up to the difference forecast or unofficially collated.
So, the only option left to INEC to go on and declare the results. This is always the most honorable thing to do. It may be painful for those who have lost. But that’s DEMOCRACY. They defeated others in the past and today is their turn.
Mr Bukarti, a human rights lawyer, writes from London, UK