Dubbed the ‘Margin of Lead Principle,’ this rule is contained in Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act and paragraph 41(e) and 43(b) of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines.
While Abaribe finally polled 53,086 votes to finish top at a rescheduled election on March 9, the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance , APGA polled 27,998 to finish second while APC came a distant third.
Similarly, the PDP candidate, Nicholas Tofowomo was leading in Ondo South Senatorial Election of February 23 but INEC declared the exercise inconclusive and ordered a re-run.
Tofowomo had initially polled 79, 036 ahead of the incumbent Senator Yele Omogunwa of APC who scored 51, 993, with vote margin of 27, 036 when the election was declared inconclusive.
But after the re-run on March 9, Tofowomo was eventually declared winner after scoring 81, 892 votes to defeat Omogunwa who polled 55, 610 votes.
It is also not in contention that INEC had declined from declaring the final results of the governorship election in at least six states on the grounds that the margin of victory between the leading candidates (five of which are coincidentally all PDP) and the first runner up is less than the total number of cancelled votes.
INEC despite protests and even threats by some of the aggrieved candidates and their supporters, has since scheduled a supplementary poll for March 23.
What is therefore agitating many minds is the rationale at which INEC curriouly arrived at its ‘special formulae’ in Abia North.