Hon Ikra Aliyu Bilbis
By Our Reporter
The senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Zamfara State Central District, Hon. Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, has petitioned the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu urging him to cause the announcement of the February 25, 2023 Senate election in the senatorial zone.
In the petition, Aliyu Bilbis, who polled a total of 93,120 votes to beat his closest opponent of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 79,444 votes, said that it was surprising that the INEC Collation Officer, Professor Ahmad Galadima could declare the election inconclusive and proposed a supplementary election which is contrary to the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.
Bilbis, a former Minister of Information and Communications, noted that elections took place in the four Local Government Areas namely Gusau, Tsafe, Bungudu and Maru that made up the Zamfara Central Senatorial district.b
In his words; “After the election, I scored a total of 93,120 votes while my closest rival of the APC scored 79,444 votes.
“Surprisingly, while the good people of my Senatorial District were eagerly waiting for the declaration of the result, the INEC Collation Officer, Professor Ahmad Galadima declared the election inconclusive and proposed a supplementary election.
“In his press release, he declared that 74 polling units from 19 registration areas with a total of 43,881 collected Permanent Voters’ Card as affected and the supplementary election would be conducted on a date to be communicated by the Commission.
“According to the Collation Officer, the supplementary election is for the polling units where election could not hold as a result of bandits’ activities and over voting,” he explained.
Bilbis however said that it was on record that prior to the election, stakeholders, including the Electoral Officers in some of the units in the Senatorial District that elections would not possibly be conducted in the affected areas because of lingering insecurity bedevilling the areas for more than two years now.
He further said that the Electoral Act 2022 is unambiguous with regards to areas of serious insecurity threats, stressing that the areas affected in this case have been deserted by the people for over two years thus, made the excuse adduced by the Collation officer untenable, not cogent and at variance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 as the security threat is verifiable.
Bilbis further said that it is worthy of note that Section 24(2) of the Electoral Act stipulates thus; “Where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies, the Commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area or areas concerned, appoint another date for the holding of the proposed election, provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable”.
Bilbis said that the Section of the Act envisaged a temporary breach of peace and where it was possible to conduct a supplementary election, adding however that in this case, the areas affected have been deserted by the people for more than two years.
He further said; “Therefore, the reason for postponement of elections in those areas on this ground is not cogent and verifiable.
“Furthermore, the allegation of over voting and cancellation of election in some of the polling units cannot also be justified. We have copies of the results of the election in the affected areas showing that there was no over voting.
“We have taken steps by bringing this development and the conduct of the Collation Officer to the Chairman of INEC. As an unbiased umpire, it is my believe that the Chairman will do the needful by directing Professor Ahmad Galadima or whosoever may be directed by him to declare me the winner of Zamfara State Central Senatorial District election,” he said.
Bilbis expressed appreciation to the good people of Zamfara State Central Senatorial District for their impressive turnout during the election and believing and supporting his candidature, assuring that he shall ever remain grateful to them.
He also urged the good people of Zamfara to remain calm and peaceful while he and the other stakeholders take every necessary legal step to claim his mandate.