By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
After a protracted electoral process, that is marred by irregularities, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in Bauchi State, Senator Bala Muhammed has been finally declared winner of the governorship elections by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The elections held on March 9, 2019. The governor-elect is the first to defeat an incumbent governor in Bauchi State since the return to democracy in 1999.
The State Returning Officer, Prof. Muhammed Kyari, said: “PDP candidate polled a total 515,113 votes, while his closest rival, Governor Muhammad Abubakar of the ruling APC scored 500,625.” According to him, 2,462,843 registered but 1,143,019 were accredited to vote. He put the valid votes at 1,111,406 saying 22,566 votes were rejected.
He further said, “I Professor Muhammed Kyari, the returning officer for the governorship election on March 10, 23 of March and concluded today, March 25, 2019, having satisfied with requirements of the law, Bala Muhammed of PDP has scored highest number of votes is hereby declared the winner and he is return elected,” Prof. Kyari declared. Muhammed’s closest opponent, Governor Muhammed Abubakar, immediately accepted defeat and congratulated Muhammed. A congratulatory message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mallam Ali Ali said the governor wished the governor-elect well.
“I congratulate my brother, Senator Bala, on this victory at the polls,” he said, adding: “I am delighted to note that in spite of the intensity of the campaigns in our dear state, a peaceful election took place without bloodshed.” Abubakar stated further: “Let me therefore invite the governor-elect to join me in working out the process of a smooth transition. “I sincerely thank the entire people of Bauchi State for their support to my administration and urge them to extend the same to the incoming administration. “I also urge the governor-elect to caution his supporters to be law abiding while celebrating since the period of campaigns is now over.”