Getting the highest number of votes in a state is not enough to declare a governorship candidate winner, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said.
To be declared winner, a governorship candidate must not only get the highest number of votes, he must also win at least one-quarter of total votes cast in two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state.
This is contained in the guidelines for the governorship election posted by INEC on its website. The commission said the collation officer for a state can only return as winner, any candidate who “(i) has the majority of votes cast at the election; (and) (ii) has not less than one quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the LGAs in the state.”
The guidelines stated that “Where no candidate meets the requirements of the majority of votes cast and the electoral two-thirds, as provided in 41b (i) and (ii) above, a run-off election will be organised by the commission within 21 days in line with the provisions of Section 179 (2) to (5) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.”
In case of cancelled votes, the guidelines stated that the returning officer should not declare any candidate winner if the margin between the two leading candidates is less than the number of registered voters at the polling unit or units where votes were cancelled or did not hold at all. The commission stated that in line with sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act, a winner would only be declared after a fresh poll has been conducted at the polling unit(s) where votes were cancelled or did not hold at all.