by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The two days’ All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s Plateau State bye-election primaries for Jos North/Bassa House of Reps was on Wednesday declared inconclusive.
Our correspondent reports that the outcome of the election, held at Lamonde Hotel Jos, generated tension and apprehension among party members, supporters as well as delegates over who emerged winner among the aspirants.
Announcing the results of Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency bye-election primaries for APC, the seven-man Electoral Panel headed by Hon. Habu Saje, disclosed that, four aspirants contested and with 1,165 delegates, who casted their votes for the two contestants, Hon. Joseph Abbey Aku and Hon. Suleiman Yahaya Kwande, respectively; each of them scoring 344 votes, giving a 50/50 result. This ‘anomaly’ thereby prompted the electoral committee to declare the exercise inconclusive.
Hon. Habu Saje said, “Two contending aspirants tied – each got 344 votes – and in my capacity as an electoral committee officer of the panel, I cannot take a definite decision on this matter.
“I have to refer this matter to the Head Office (National Secretariat of the APC); now the head office will take a decision and communicate to the aspirants without delay, taking into consideration the time is against us,” he disclosed.
Speaking after the pronouncement of the panel, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya Kwande said “I don’t know how it would be a tie; maybe, it’s a miracle or not, but as far as I am concerned, I won this election fair and squarely. I knew what I was up against and the forces that were against me.”
He added that, “Nobody can force me to do what I don’t want to do. I am highly disappointed; I am not happy that I have been part of the party (APC) that I have helped to build and be in power and now it’s trying to do this to me.
“It is sad that they are putting two of us at each other’s throat. It is very unfortunate that it’s something that they would have come out clear and tell us,” he noted.
On his part, Hon. Joseph Abbey Aku opined that, “The messages my agent sent to me shows I pulled 367 votes as against 344. I won with a gap of 27 votes; where are the other 27 votes? My agent is here, he sent those messages to me, he is my agent; after counting, he sent the result to me.”
Also, publicity secretary of APC, Hon Sylvanus Namang, told newsmen that “All the contestants were given level playing ground, which was why the processes went on free and fair; but, unfortunately, we have this stalemate. And as it is, only the national secretariat of the party can resolve this stalemate; the party at the state has no say in this stalemate.”
Mr. Namang, however, stated that, “The national secretariat is likely to order a re-run for the two aspirants with a view to getting the one with the highest votes; in this case, between Suleiman Kwande and Hon Abbey Aku.”