The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has firmed up preparations to conclude the Kogi West senatorial district rerun for Saturday, November 30.
The November 16 election in the senatorial district was declared inconclusive by the returning officer, Professor Olayinde Lawal, because the margin between the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Smart Adeyemi and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Dino Melaye was 20,570.
Professor Lawal explained that the total margin between both candidates was lower than the 43,127 registered voters in 53 polling units of 20 registration areas in the zone where elections were cancelled.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Lunchtime Politics, the Chairman, Voter Education, and Information, Festus Okoye, stated that the commission is constitutionally obliged to conclude the elections.
“The supplementary elections in Kogi West will go ahead tomorrow because it was the collation/returning officer for that particularly senatorial district that declared the election as inconclusive and we have a constitutional and legal obligation to conclude that election and we are going to conclude it tomorrow.”
He clarified allegations of unfair usage of the smart card reader during the election while adding that the electoral umpire will continue to use the device in all elections.
“The smart card reader is innovative, creative and novel and was designed to bolster the credibility of the accreditation process. It is incumbent on every presiding officer to use the smart card reader for the purposes of accreditation.
Mr Okoye revealed that the commission received complaints of card reader malfunction in some polling units, and if the usage is resisted, zero votes will be recorded.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that in a few places, there were reports of smart card reader malfunction and we had sufficient redundancies and we intervened speedily and restored the smart card readers in the polling unit.
“We also received a few reports of attempts to bypass the use of the smart card readers and all the presiding officers have very clear instructions that if there is over-voting in any polling unit, the result should be cancelled.
“If any community or political force resists the use of the smart card reader, zero votes should be recorded for that particular polling unit,” he stated.