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Edo tribunal sitting: Disparities in INEC results

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

AGENE GODWIN, Benin

The Edo state elections petitions tribunal sitting in Benin City has received the report of the recounting exercise for originals of the INEC ballot papers for three out of the four local governments used in the 2016 state governorship elections.

The recounting exercise revealed glaring disparities when compared with the figures declared by INEC on its forms EC8A or result sheets used in September last year.

The result of the recounting exercise carried out on September 28 2017 are contained in the report signed by Mr Buhari Sani, an assistant Secretary of the tribunal and has however been made available to all the parties in the petition.

For example for Etsako West, where the ballot papers of only of wards were recounted, the total made available to the tribunal was 8, 432 whereas on INEC form EC8A, the commission gave a total figure of 17, 138.

It was a similar situation for Akoko-Edo where only two wards were recounted and whereas INEC on its form EC8A used in the elections said there were 7,328 the recounted ballots were actually 7, 055.

The conflict in the recounts and the figures declared by INEC was also obvious in Egor where only two wards were recounted with a figure of 3,217 and INEC declared 2, 770.

For Etsako West the difference between the recount and the INEC total for the wards affected by the recounting was 8,706, while the difference was 273 for Akoko-Edo and 447 for Egor.

Of particular interest to the tribunal may be the recounting of the ballot papers used in polling unit one of Ward one in Etsako West where the recounted ballot revealed zero but INEC had recorded 462 on its result sheets.

The same story it was in polling unit 3 of Ward two where the recount was zero and INEC scored 315 on its result sheets while in polling units one and two of Ward five the recounts were 360 and 304, but INEC wrote ‘cancelled’, on its result sheets.

The recounted original ballot papers which are originally for the four local government areas namely Egor, Akoko-edo, Etsako west and Etsako east were produced by the subpoenaed witness from INEC.

This was at the request of the petitioners, the PDP and its governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who are challenging the role of INEC in the elections in declaring that Mr Godwin Obaseki and the APC won the elections.

Tribunal sources confirmed that there were three counting points for the exercise and featured one local government each and in the order of Etsako West, Akoko-Edo and Egor, leaving Etsako East untouched.

It will be recalled that all the counting points could not conclude recounting before the tribunal ordered its stoppage on account of the fact that the period allowed the petitioners to prove their case has expired.

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