Nigeria supplementary polls announced two days after Buhari’s re-election

Supplementary elections will be conducted in all areas where elections did not take place and/or where returns could not be made
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Mahmood Yakubu displays vote result sheets on February 25, 2019 in Abuja during the presidential elections announcement. – Muhammadu Buhari got off to a winning start in his bid for re-election as Nigeria’s president, as the first result was announced today from weekend polls. The 76-year-old former military ruler won 219,231 votes in the southwestern state of Ekiti, while his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar, got 154,032, the electoral commission announced. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

NEWS CENTRAL, Abuja – Nigeria’s electoral commission has fixed March 9 to conduct a supplementary presidential election in areas where the poll was canceled last Saturday, forty-eight hours after declaring incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari re-elected.

“Supplementary elections will be conducted in all areas where elections did not take place and/or where returns could not be made on Saturday, 9th March 2019 alongside the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections,” Festus Okoye, Spokesman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC said in a statement on Friday. 

Okoye said INEC reached the decision during a meeting with its resident electoral commissioners (RECs) from the thirty six states and Nigerian capital on Thursday in Abuja.

“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.” INEC said.

Two local councils in Rivers state, parts of Lagos and Anambra states all within southern Nigeria had issues of poll cancellation due to violence which prevented the electoral commission from sending its staff and election materials for the conduct of presidential and parliamentary polls. 

The electoral commission had declared incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari re-elected after he polled 15,191,847 votes, winning in 19 states, to defeat other 72 candidates including Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the major opposition, Peoples Democratic Party who scored 11, 255,978 votes.

With a difference of 3,935,869 votes between Buhari and Atiku, the supplementary elections will only be an academic exercise as it will have no huge impact on the existing outcome of the presidential results. 

Countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, Russia, UAE, Ghana and several others have continued to send in congratulatory messages to President Buhari.

“We commend all those Nigerians who participated peacefully in the election and condemn those whose acts of violence harmed Nigerians and the electoral process.

“We note the assessments of international and domestic observer missions affirming the overall credibility of the election, despite localized violence and irregularities.” Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State said in a statement on Friday. 

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