The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says a governorship candidate may not be declared winner despite getting the highest number of votes in a state.

In a circular published on its website, which carries INEC’s “regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the 2019 elections,” the commission stated that for a governorship candidate to be declared winner, he/she must emerge winner in at least one-quarter of total votes cast in two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state.

On page 24 of the 33-page document, the electoral body states that the collation/returning officer for a state can only return as winner, any governorship 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.”

It adds 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.”

Meanwhile, accreditation and voting have begun in some states in the ongoing governorship and houses of assembly elections.

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