Senator Dino Melaye of
the Peoples Democratic Party raised alarm on the trend of inconclusive polls at
the House of Representatives on the 14/03/2019. This led to a rowdy section at
the House following the resolution to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate
the Independent National Electoral Committee. Karimi argued that there has been
a difference in procedure when you compare the presidential and gubernatorial
election. He stated that the number of cancelled votes supersedes the margin of
winning votes in the presidential election as well as in the gubernatorial
election, yet the gubernatorial election was declared inconclusive while the
presidential election was validated. Femi Gbajabiamila ( House Leader APC Lagos
State) opined thus " I have listened to the debate and a lot of us seem to
misinterpret the position of the law, we do not have the power to interpret the
laws. While we agree that inconclusiveness should be something of the past, the
question is how we move forward in a manner that reduces the power of INEC to
set up guidelines that encourage this kind of situations

#LemmeLayItOutStraight#

The margin of lead
principle derived from section 26 and 53 of the electoral act 2010(as amended)
connotes that if a party (Party A) is leading an election as compared to his
closest opposition (Party B) with a margin that is lower than the number of
cancelled votes, INEC can declare the election inconclusive (meaning there is
no clear winner)

This principle is sound
considering the probability that those cancelled votes could have been cast in
favour of the first runner up opposition party, this principle clearly protects
the rights of the voters by ensuring that none is stripped of their
constitutional right to vote and determine their leader. Which is better, to
have an inconclusive election or to have a candidate that does not represent
the mandate of the people? I am of the opinion that the latter invalidates the
whole purpose of an election.

In Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue,
Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states; the margin to cancelled vote ratio is
32,476:40,988, 4,059: 45,312, 81,554:121,019, 26,655:128,572, 44,929: 49377,
3,413: 75,403 respectively. While in the presidential election, the margin to
cancelled vote difference is 3,928,869: 3,450,000(as claimed by Chidoka, Former
Aviation minister when interviewed on the reason why PDP refused to sign the
presidential election results.

‘We
also believed that difference between the accredited voters and the total votes
cast which came to about 750,000 votes, requires an issue to be looked
at.Finally, we believe that INEC needs to look at the cancellations that took
place in the election impacting 2.7 million.'

                                                                                                            Osita
Chidoka

Here's the catch,
although Karimi's argument about the double standard of INEC falls below the
bar by 478,869 votes, Chidoka also argues that 1.6 registered voters were not
collated.

‘The
second one is the issues we raised about the number of registered vis-à-vis if
what the chairman now calls collated voters means that 1.6 million people are missing
in the voter register'.

The margin of lead
principle seems to protect the right of a voter to exercise his right to vote
if their vote has the ability to change the outcome of the already collated
result. This is similar to the principle followed in the penalty stage in the
knock out stages of a football match. If you add the 1.6 registered voters
whose votes were not collated due to no fault of theirs (many can attest to
knowledge of people who registered for their voters card but were not given a
voters card), considering that these people were disenfranchised from voting
and their votes cancelled, though by a different means from the elections not
taking place in their polling unit, but cancelled nonetheless, the new margin
to cancelled votes ratio for the presidential election becomes
3,928,869:5,050,000. This is 1,121,131 votes above the margin of lead and
validates Karimi's argument of a double standard by INEC.

The House of
Representatives has a right to investigate the actions of INEC (section 88 of
the 1999 constitution as amended). I wonder what the ad-hoc committee will
discover?

 

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  1. The house of rep should definitely investigate the conduct of inec and the reasons for election cancellation. They should prevent the re-occurrence by enacting useful laws

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