2019 Election: INEC Returning Officer Admits Announcing Plateau Reps Result Under Duress
The Oasis Reporters
June 25, 2019
By Moses Gbande, Jos
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s Collation/ Returning Officer in the February 23rd, 2019 National Assembly election for Pankshin-Kanke- Kanam Federal Constituency in Plateau state, Prof. Joseph Mangut has admitted that the electoral process was marred by irregularities.
Prof. Mangut who made this startling revelation before the National Assembly Petitions Tribunal holding at High Court (3) in Jos on Monday, told the tribunal that his efforts to carry out his mandate as INEC Collation officer to the best of his ability was eventually scarred.
According to him, though, he actually declared Yusuf Adamu Gagdi of the APC in fulfilment of INEC guidelines on the basis of which the elections were conducted, admits that he actually failed to comply fully to the satisfaction of INEC complaint procedure, but blamed it to disruption that took place at the collation center in Pankshin.
He narrated that on the day of the election, he reported to the collation center, waiting to collate and compute results from the three local governments that made up the constituency.
“The results started coming in on the 24th February, 2019 with Pankshin taking the first lead, followed by Kanke and Kanam in that order”.
He added that, what led to disruption of the process was that after the collation exercise was done, he sought for an impute form both parties if there were any complaints over the exercise, and the agents started complaining that there were cases of over voting in Nine (9) polling units of five (5) wards of Kanam local government council.
“They complained that they were not satisfied with the conduct of the election in the area, when asked the returning officer from Kanam to explain the circumstances being alleged to by political parties, suddenly the hall went rowdy, owing to the disagreements by representatives of the political parties. The rowdiness was such that the hall under which the exercise took place became unconducive, tension arose to the extent that the disagreement went beyond party agents alone, but almost all the people that were not accounted for in the hall.
” There was a stalemate such that continuing with the exercise would have jeopardized all of us and my colleagues that were in the hall. The tension went beyond the security agents, and we felt that it was time to suspend the exercise, therefore the announcement that the exercise was inconclusive to be made. Asking that we reconvene the following day when adequate security arrangements would have been made”.
The petition which was filed by Hon. Timothy Golu of APC challenging the election of Hon. Yusuf Gagdi of the PDP has, Sunday Oyewale as Petitioners Counsel, while Garba Pwul (SAN), Sunday Obende and J.J Usman are lead counsels to first, second and third respondents respectively.
The Matter has been adjourned to 25-29 Juné 2019 and 1st, 2nd July respectively for the taking of submissions from witnesses .