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Bye-election: Zamfara returning INEC Officer asked to step aside by PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday demanded that the Independent National Electoral Commission’s returning officer for Saturday’s bye-election in Bakura Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, Prof. Ibrahim Magatawa, should step aside over his alleged open bias in favor of the All Progressives Congress. 

In a statement titled: “Zamfara Bye-Election: PDP Asks Returning Officer To Step Aside for Pursuing Win For APC,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiya, in Abuja, the PDP said it was alarmed by Magatawa’s open support for the APC. 

Ologbondiyan 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 the 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. 

“In Prof. Magatawa’s words ‘if the APC is to 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 PDP noted that Prof. Magatawa’s statement exposes the partisanship of the INEC official, triggers a dangerous crisis of confidence and points to “a creepy plot to use the rerun to allocate fictitious votes to APC, the very reason, Prof. Magatawa must not be allowed in any way to participate in the anticipated rerun.” 

The statement added, “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 favor. 

“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.” 

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