The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Returning Officer for the Bakura constituency in Zamfara state, Prof. Ibrahim Magatawa, to step aside.
In a statement on Sunday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party accused Prof Magatawa of plots to rig the election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the election inconclusive, following the cancellation of election in some areas where the bye election held. INEC had fixed next Saturday to conclude the election.
But the PDP accused Prof Magatawa of saying that the cancellation of election in some areas and shifting the date for the conclusion of the poll, was to enable the APC to gain “upper hand over the PDP”.
The statement said: “The PDP demands the immediate removal of Prof. Magatawa as his embarrassing pronouncement has betrayed a plot to use the planned re-run in 14 polling units where election was cancelled under unclear circumstances, to rob our party of our victory in the Bakura State Constituency bye-election.
“Our party and Nigerians were shocked when, in declaring the election inconclusive, given that the total number of registered voters in the 14 polling units is 11,439 higher than the 2,181 difference between the 18,645 votes scored by the PDP and 16,464 votes garnered by the APC, Prof. Magatawa openly suggested that the rerun will give the APC upper hand over the PDP.”
The PDP quited Prof. Magatawa as saying: “If the APC is to, may gain advantage if there is another election in these units where election is cancelled, that they may get upper hand over the PDP and as a result, we have declared this result inconclusive.”
The party said Prof. Magatawa’s statement exposed the partisanship of the INEC official, triggering a dangerous crisis of confidence and pointing to a creepy plot to use the rerun to allocate fictitious votes to APC, ” the very reason, Prof. Magatawa must not be allowed in anyway to participate in the anticipated rerun.”
Continuing, the PDP said, “Moreover, Prof. Magatawa’s comments raises apprehension that elections in the 14 units were cancelled to achieve a sinister design to rob the PDP of its victory.
“Currently, the PDP would not go into issues of allegations of plots by the APC to use huge financial inducements, in addition to compromised security operatives by the APC to manipulate this election to its favour.
“We however call on INEC to stop using individuals like Prof. Magawata in our elections. He has shown to be a biased umpire who could not even hide his abominable enterprise.
“The PDP therefore demands that the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, directly take over the conduct of processes in the Bakura State Constituency bye-election, where our party is in clear victory, as the people will never allow any final outcome that does not reflect the electoral reality already on the ground.”