Mrs. Dominion Anosike, the returning officer for Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State, in the gubernatorial election, has written to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), requesting to appear before the electoral body at its headquarters in Abuja.
She was expected to appear before a committee set up by INEC to investigate controversies over the cancellation of the results of the governorship election in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
But Mrs. Anosike has requested to present her case in Abuja rather than in Bauchi on account of threats to her life.
The letter, dated March 13, 2019, was addressed to the National Chairman of INEC and was received in his office on March 14, 2019.
In the letter, she stated: “I superintended over the above election in Tafawa Balewa LGA as the returning officer and I believe that there will be need for your committee to find out from me what transpired at the collation centre that led to the cancellation of the result by the resident electoral commissioner for Bauchi State.
“The purpose of this letter to your good offices is to indicate my desire to appear before the team in another location, preferably Abuja – as doing that in Bauchi State would constitute a threat to my life, as I have already been threatened with instant death, should I be found anywhere in or near Bauchi State.”
It would be recalled that the returning officer for Bauchi State governorship election, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, had cancelled the election of Tafawa Balewa LGA on Sunday evening, citing the failure of Mrs. Anosike to use the prescribed form to enter the result of the elections collated across the local government areas.
This was despite the explanation given by her to the commission that the result sheets for the governorship election were carted away by thugs who invaded the collation centre in Zwall, Tafawa Balewa LGA, in the early hours of Sunday.
She had also notified the commission via an explanatory memorandum signed by all stakeholders in the election at the collation centre who unanimously agreed to collate and record the result on another form, and addressed same to the resident electoral commissioner and the state returning officer, which was submitted in Bauchi on Sunday.
However, the state returning officer, Prof. Mohammed Kyari, rejected the explanation and unilaterally declared that there was no result for Tafawa Balewa LGA and cancelled the election of the entire local government area even though there was no incident of cancellation, violence, or electoral malpractice at both the polling unit and ward levels as reported by the returning officer.
The PDP candidate, Sen. Bala Mohammed, was in the lead after results of 19 LGAs were collated, with the incumbent governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of the APC, trailing behind with a margin of over 4000 votes.
In the contentious Tafawa Balewa LGA, the PDP had scored 40,000 votes against the APC’s 29,000, putting the PDP ahead with about 15,000 votes.
It would be recalled that when a similar incident occurred during the presidential election on February 23 in Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State, when the collation officer discovered that the result sheet for the presidential election was missing, all party agents and electoral officers unanimously agreed to record the result on another form which was accepted by the commission and collated as part of the result from Bauchi State.
Similarly, following an attack and destruction of result sheets at Nasarawa LGA collation centre by thugs, the resident electoral commissioner of the state decided that since elections held and result were declared at various polling units and wards, the results could not be cancelled and adopted regenerated results from the wards and polling units.