The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the governorship election in Plateau, Adamawa and Sokoto States inconclusive.
Returning officers for the election in the states made the declaration on Monday morning in separate announcements at their respective collation centres.
In Jos, the Plateau State capital, Professor Richard Kimbir announced that the margin of a lead of 44,929 between the APC and the PDP candidates is less than 49,377 cancelled votes.
Sitting governor, Simon Lalong of APC polled a total of 583,255 votes while Jerry Useni of PDP scored 538,326.
According to the returning officer, the margin constrained him to return a winner and so declared the election inconclusive and bye-elections should hold in the affected areas.
Andrew Haruna, the returning officer in Adamawa, explained that the inconclusive declaration of the state gubernatorial election was necessitated by the margin of votes between the two top candidates which is lesser than total votes voided in about 40 polling units.
The returning officer said there are 40,988 votes that were cancelled in 44 polling units across the state.
“The margin of lead is 32,476; and going by the margin of lead which is backed up by law in the INEC Regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections,” said Mr Haruna.
He thereafter cited INEC laws that sanctioned his action.
“In page 17 paragraph C of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections on the margin of lead principle state that where the margin of lead between the two leading candidates in an election is not in excess of the total number of voters registered in polling units where elections are not counted or voided, in line with Section 26 and 53 of Electoral Act, the Returning officer shall decline to make a return until votes have taken place in the affected polling units and the results collated in to the relevant forms for declaration and return.
“This is the margin of lead principle and shall apply wherever necessary in making returns in all elections to which this Regulations and Guidelines apply.”
The returning officer thereby declared that, “Looking at the total number of votes which has been harvested from the total number of voters registered in the 44 Polling Units, in the 29 Registration Areas, the Margin of Lead Principle should apply.
“And, therefore, I declare this exercise inconclusive.”
In a similar development, in Sokoto State, Professor Fatima Muktar gave the same reason for her decision while urging those troubled by the result to channel their grievances to the electoral body.
According to the returning officer, a total of 1,881,767 voters registered in the state while 1,033,081 voters were accredited for the exercise.
The total number of votes cast was 1,018,024 out of which 987,942 were counted as valid votes.
After collating the results from all the local government areas, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 489,558 while the All Progressives Congress (APC) garnered 486,145 votes.
Professor Muktar noted that there was cancellation in 136 polling units across 22 LGAs with 75,403 registered voters.
She maintained that the margin of win by the PDP was 3,413 votes, which was way less than the number of cancelled votes.
The returning officer, thereafter, declared the election inconclusive, saying INEC would take a decision on the matter.