Buhari, Osibanjo with INEC Certificate of Return

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said supplementary presidential and National Assembly elections will be held in parts of the country where elections did not take place or returns were not made. The commission made the announcement in a statement on Friday.

INEC said the supplementary elections will be held simultaneously with governorship and state house of assemblies elections scheduled for Saturday, March 6.

“Consequently, the meeting decided that supplementary elections will be conducted in all areas where elections did not take place and/or where returns could not be made on Saturday, March 9th, 2019, alongside governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections,” the INEC’s national commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye said.

This came after electoral officers met to give assessments about the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly polls.

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The presidential election was held on Saturday, February 28. It was marred by delays, sporadic violence, and allegations of vote rigging.

“The meeting acknowledged the delays in the commencement of elections in a number of polling units which necessitated the extension of the closing of polls in the affected areas. The commission is determined to rectify the identified challenges before the elections on March 9.

“The meeting noted a number of cancellations in certain areas due to violence, which prevented the commission from deploying personnel and materials for the elections. In a number of locations, it could not conclude the elections due to disruptions and deliberate non-compliance with the use of the Smart Card Reader, contrary to the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections.”

Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari defeated opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, and have since issued a certificate of return.

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INEC announced the final count on Wednesday, after days of vote tabulating across states. Buhari secured approximately 56 per cent of the vote, compared to Atiku’s 41 per cent.

After the announcement, Buhari thanked his supporters. “I am deeply humbled and profoundly grateful to you for judging me worthy of continuing to serve you and for your peaceful conduct,” he said.

However, Abubakar is challenging the results of the poll. He claimed that there were “statistical improbabilities” that were apparent, such as high turnout in areas plagued by conflict and lower turnout in peaceful states.

He also alleged that the military personnel deployed to keep the peace had helped suppress the vote in certain areas.

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“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South,” Atiku said.

He added, “I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.”

The commission, however, stated that it is determined to rectify the challenges that occurred during the presidential election and prevent it in the March 9 election.

The governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections will be held in 29 of 36 states across the country on March 9.

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