The House of Representatives, yesterday, resolved to probe the “unwarranted, escalating trend of inconclusive elections in Nigeria, which has cast doubt on the neutrality of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an umpire in Nigeria’s elections.”
The resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance on “the malady of inconclusive elections in Nigeria” by Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi), and seconded by Nnenna Ukeje (PDP, Abia).
Leading debate on the motion, Karimi warned that the frequent declaration of inconclusive elections by INEC, which was not envisaged in either the 1999 Constitution or the Electoral Act, has become a demon haunting the country’s electoral system.
He lamented that the governorship elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states were declared inconclusive despite leading candidates having met the provisions of Section 179(2) of the constitution.
The lawmaker warned that the unwarranted declaration of inconclusive elections is a potential security risk in Nigeria, especially as INEC allegedly used same to subvert the will of the electorate and erode their confidence in the electoral system.
“Prior to the Kogi State governorship election in 2015, there were very few isolated cases of inconclusive elections due to over-voting and non-voting in some areas.
“Sections 111, 134 and 179 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); as well as sections 26(1), 53(2 & 3) of the Electoral Act show that inconclusive election is not envisaged in our laws. INEC should not be allowed to whimsically declare elections inconclusive,” Karimi said.
He admitted that although Section 153 of the Electoral Act gives INEC powers to make regulations, guidelines and manuals for the election, such powers should not supersede the constitution and other extant laws in the country.
Ali Madaki (PDP, Kano), Sani Suba (APC, Kaduna), and Chika Adamu (APC, Niger), also expressed concern that the rampant cases of inconclusive elections has put INEC’s integrity to question.
Madaki specifically warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) and INEC of “dire security consequences if they subvert the will of the electorate in the incoming re-run elections.”
House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), said rather than apportioning blames, the central question that should bother the lawmakers is how to overcome the problem of inconclusive election in Nigeria.