By Nicholas Dechi
Makurdi – The National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Benue Governorship election held on Saturday March 9 inconclusive.
Announcing the verdict on Monday in Makurdi, the INEC Returning Officer for the state, Prof Sabastine Maimako, said the “margin of lead is below that of cancelled votes, therefore, the election is hereby declared inconclusive”.
He put the total number of cancelled votes at 121,019 while the margin of lead between Ortom and Jime stood at 81,554 votes.
Maimako said Ortom polled a total of 410,576 votes while his closest rival, Mr Emmanuel Jime of the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 329,022 votes.
The Advanced Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) polled 3,489 votes , PRP had 26,659 votes.
Reacting to the INEC decision, Mr Alex Adum, the State Returning Officer for PDP, rejected the verdict, saying the electoral body ought to have declared Ortom the outright winner of the polls, having polled 81, 554 votes ahead of his closest rival.
He said the destruction of electoral materials at Mbalom council ward was not the fault of his candidate.
He also said the other anomalies recorded, especially that of a missing result sheet from Konshisha Local Government Area, was not tenable because it ought to have obtained a duplicate copy from their headquarters.
Reacting to Adum’s comments, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue Dr Nentawe Yilwatda, said “once the results are declared only the courts can reverse them”.
The breakdown of the results, however, showed that Ortom won in 13 Local Government Areas of the state while Jime won in 10 government areas.
The local government areas where Ortom won were: Gboko, Guma, Ukum,,Logo, Vandeikya, Agatu, Kwande, Buruku, Konshisha, Ado and Ushongo, Gwer West and Gwer East.
Those won by Jime were: Makurdi, Tarka, Ado, Otukpo, Katsina Ala, Apa, Ohimini, Ogbadibo, Okpokwu and Obi.(NAN)