This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the Osun State gubernatorial election inconclusive.
The September 22nd election saw 48 candidates seek the Governorship to succeed APC's Rauf Aregbesola. However, it was the PDP's Ademola Adeleke that polled 254, 698 votes to edge the APC's Gboyega Oyetola who polled 254, 345 votes. The result was a measly 353 votes between them.
Yet, none of the candidates has been declared Governor-Elect.
Why is Adeleke not the winner?
Despite Adeleke having more votes than other candidates in the election, he cannot be declared winner yet. According to Section 153 of Nigeria’s electoral act, if a candidate’s margin of victory is lower than the number of voters in units where elections were cancelled, then there is no clear winner.
A total of 3,498 voters in five polling units across the state were cancelled due to irregularities. Since this figure is higher than the difference between Oyetola and Adeleke’s votes (353), a re-run election has to be conducted in areas where elections were nullified.
“Unfortunately as the returning officer, it’s not possible to declare anybody as the clear winner of the election on the first ballot. I, Joseph Adeola Fuwape, hereby, declare this election inconclusive” – Presiding Officer of the election, Adeola Fawupe
What is a re-run election?
A re-run is a fresh election conducted in place of nullified elections. It is conducted between the two leading candidates running for a particular office - after an initial election failed to produce a clear winner. Re-runs are often conducted if an election fails to produce a winner in the first round, or in this case, there are constitutional requirements that have not been met in the first round.
The re-run election has been scheduled for Thursday, September 27th by INEC and will be in polling units across Orolu, Osogbo and Ife South, where voting was cancelled.
While the Independent National Electoral Committee is just doing its job, a lot of Nigerians have read the move for a rerun as political. Supporters of both the APC and PDP seem to think it is a plot to fix in their candidate. Interestingly, in the 2014 Governorship elections, Orolu and Ife South were split by the two main candidates in that election. The PDP candidate then, Sen. Omisore, ran as an SDP candidate in this election. As he did not poll in the top two, whoever he endorses will also receive a boost heading into the election.
Regardless of the public perception around the Osun state elections, it is too early to predict what is going to happen on Thursday. However, it will either boost or dampen expectations for fair polls in 2019.