The Independent National Electoral Commission says an inconclusive election cannot be ruled out in Anambra State governorship poll next week.
INEC’s National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Festus Okoye, said this on a live programme on Nigeria Info 95.1fm Abuja on Tuesday which was monitored by one of our correspondents.
Okoye, while responding to questions from callers regarding inconclusive elections, stated that the Electoral Act and the constitution state conditions for electoral victory.
He argued that as long as no candidate meets the requirement, another election would be conducted.
Okoye added, “The issue of inconclusive elections is embedded in our electoral framework. For instance, in Anambra State, constitutionally, before you can be declared as having won the governorship election, you must score a quarter of the votes cast in two thirds of all the local government areas of Anambra State and you must score a majority of all votes.
“If no candidate in the election scores against this geographical spread and also scores majority of lawful votes cast in the election, you will have an inconclusive election and you must go back to organise a second election in order to get the person who has won. So, the issue of inconclusive election is embedded in our electoral framework.”
He argued that based on the insecurity in the state, if elections are cancelled in any particular local government in Anambra and it is discovered that such cancellation could affect the outcome of the poll, then the exercise would be deemed inconclusive.
“Moreover, if for instance, on account of insecurity, we are unable to deploy to five local government areas for instance and the votes from all other local governments are assembled, if the total number of registered voters in these five local government where we did not conduct election has the capacity to affect the outcome of the elections where we have already conducted elections, we will declare it inconclusive until we have conducted election in all these other five local governments where we didn’t conduct elections,” the INEC commissioner added.
Okoye argued that declaring inconclusive elections under circumstances are based on the constitution, the Electoral Act and its guidelines.
“So there is nothing untoward or obscene about it and nothing odious in what we are doing in relation to the election,” he said.
The INEC commissioner stated that the pavilion and collation centre of the commission which were burnt earlier in the year had been reconstructed as well as all stores housing their materials.
Meanwhile, INEC has said new 81,778 Permanent Voter Cards had been printed and would be delivered to its office on October 28.
Okoye said this in a statement on Tuesday after the commission’s meeting in Abuja to review preparations for the Anambra election.
According to him, a total of 138,802 Nigerians completed the registration during the Continuous Voter Registration exercise in the State.
Okoye said after a thorough cleaning up of the data, it was discovered that the number of multiple registrants was 62,698 forcing valid registrants to drop to 76,104.
“During the same period, there were 5,674 requests for transfers, update of voter information and replacement of lost or damaged cards, giving a cumulative total of 81,778 PVCs. These cards have been printed and will be delivered to our office in Anambra State on Thursday October 28, 2021”, he said.
Okoye said the commission would work out the most efficient means of ensuring that the voters concerned collect their PVCs in earnest, adding that “fortunately, the commission has the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of all the new registrants. They will be contacted to make the collection seamless.”
He assured the people of the commission’s determination to proceed with the conduct of the election while appealing to all the critical stakeholders and citizens to cooperate with the commission for a successful exercise.