Unlike previous elections in Kogi State where guns were freely used by political thugs, ballot boxes snatched and voters beaten and sometimes killed for daring to exercise their franchise, last Saturday’s governorship election was considered very peaceful and orderly.....CONTINUE READING
Daily Sun can say authoritatively that the development was made possible by the heavy deployment of security personnel to the state with over 40,000 police , 20,000 soldiers,,10,000 DSS and a similar large number of Civil Defence Corps.
But expectedly, the outcome of the governorship election was a bag of mixed reactions. While the All progressives Congress, the ruling party in the state said the election was free, fair and credible, the opposition parties said the exercise was fraught with mass scale malpractices and should therefore be cancelled.
The election was contested by 18 political parties which fielded their candidates but the top contenders in the election were Usman Ododo of the APC, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka of the SDP , Dino Melaye of the PDP and Leke Abejide of the ADC.
Kogi State has a total of 1,932,654 registered voters from its 21 local government areas and 239 wards. Of this figure, 1,833,160 collected their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) for the election but the people that actually came out to vote were far lower.
The results of the election showed that Usman Ododo of the APC won a total vote of 446,237 votes in 13 of the 21 local government areas namely; Okene, Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okehi, Ogori-Magongo, Lokoja, Kabba- bunu, Ijumu , Yagba west , Mopamuro, Kotokarfi , Lokoja and Bassa.
Muritala Yakubu Ajaka of the SDP who came second scored a total votes of 259, 052, winning eight local government areas namely; Idah, Igala Mela, Ofu, Olamaboro, Dekina, Ankpa, Omala and Ibaji local government areas.
Dino Melaye who came a distant third with a total votes of 46, 362 votes did not win any local government while Leke Abejide of the ADC who scored 21,819 managed to win his local government of Yagba East.
At least two people were reportedly killed during the election with some noticeable malpractices in Ogori-Magongo.
Local government which made INEC to reschedule the election of nine polling units in that area.
Although the election was characterised with heavy inducement of voters as money, clothing materials, food stuffs were freely given out by all the major parties, Ododo’s emergence as the winner of the election was largely due to the power of incumbency,
Disunity among the Okun- Yoruba who fielded three candidates and the decapitation of the PDP whose prominent members defected en masse to the ruling party before the election.
The sitting of the third state university in Kabba, the headquarters of the Kogi west senatorial district and the mass upgrading of over 500 traditional rulers in the state were one of the jokers of the state government that worked for the success of Ododo at the poll.
Also, the lack of political structure of the minority parties especially that of the SDP, ADC, AA that many consider not to have the required spread across the 21 local government areas of the state and the rumour that governor Yahaya Bello made an irresistible overture to the leaders of the opposition to win them over coupled with the payment of outstanding salaries and allowances of past political office holders gave the APC a huge success to win the election.
Also, the perceived sponsorship of some key contestants to destroy and weaken the chances of the home base of the PDP and SDP candidates are said to be major setbacks for the affected candidates.
Announcing the results of the election on Sunday night, INEC’s returning officer, Prof. Johnson Urame said the number of votes in the suspended election in the nine polling units in Ogori- mangogo was not sufficient to affect the results of Ododo who had scored the highest votes of 446,237.
However, the SDP candidate, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka rejected the results of the election, saying it was a day light robbery.
In a press statement signed by Isaiah Davies Ijele, DG New Media Muri/Sam Campaign Council, it called for the cancellation of the election.
“We witnessed a daylight robbery that is supported by an institution of the State that should be neutral, impartial and fair. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) once again dashed the hopes of Kogites by conducting an election that was filled with compromise.
“The 11/11/2023 Kogi election is one won with glaring fraud that is supported by the umpire. The electoral law stated clearly that in the case of over voting; the electoral commission is empowered to cancel results. In the five LGA of Kogi Central and some parts of the West, election results were prefilled and uploaded into the IREV portal with the knowledge and assistance of the INEC.
“The INEC IREV portal is open for the world to see the contradicting results uploaded from the central. Again, the BVAS failed to curtail over voting and the INEC itself has legitimized electoral fraud by going ahead to declare a winner after confirming the reports of over voting and incidents of her staff carrying prefilled results. The INEC IREV portal is filled with result sheets with number of votes outnumbering the numbers of accredited voters.
“My principal, Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka won this election by legitimate results in the IREV. The Federal Government hearing our cries in her wisdom mobilized enough security to prevent the breakdown of law and order during the process. The threat of Local thugs was curtailed but that of INEC outdone Kogites.
“The SDP and her candidate are law abiding and they prosecuted this election according to the dictates of the law. Yahaya Bello, the APC and INEC united in an unholy matrimony aborted the fruit of democracy and imposed that of autocracy through rigging.
“The future of democracy in Nigeria is uncertain because the INEC is colluding with election riggers to impose unpopular candidates on the masses who via the poll rejected them” the SDP asserted.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, Dino Melaye, at a press briefing on Sunday rejected the election, calling for its cancellation.
“There was no election; in the Kogi central, accreditation was done manually, BVAS was not used, and prepared result sheets were available before the election.
“INEC must cancel the election. We have evidence to back it up. INEC has manifested gross incompetence; it cannot be trusted, it is biased and compromised.
“In many areas where I won, my agents were told there were no available result sheets to enter the result and we have evidence to back up these claims
“As I speak to you, it is shameful that this is what our democracy has descended to. INEC has manifested ever than before, that it cannot be trusted, it is biased, it is compromised and it cannot be a neutral umpire”, he added
However, the ADC candidate , Leke Abejide in a statement said although the election was characterised with malpractices , he was not ready to go to court nor call for the cancellation of the results.
“All our supporters across the 21 LG should remain calm and fight no one.
“Cancellation of result or reelection and/or going to court amounts to waste of resources for the State (Nation) and the political actors alike.
“Despite the irregularities, I am not calling for cancelation and I am not going to court. I take it as the will of God”, he said
Also, the opposition parties in Kogi State under the aegis of United progressive political parties said they were satisfied with the outcome of Saturday governorship election, saying it was the freest and most credible election since 1999.
Addressing newsmen on Monday in Lokoja, the spokesman of the group, Alhaji Idrisu Bala said the election was the reflection of the will of the people.
“We congratulate the winner of the just concluded November 11th, 2023 gubernatorial election in Kogi State, Alh Ahmed Usman Ododo, the candidate of APC.
“We are using this medium to congratulate INEC to have painstakingly followed the processes of conducting the freest, credible and transparent, election since 1999.
“This election is substantially in compliance with the electoral laws, and the electoral umpires have followed the electoral guidelines as amended; this election is unequivocally devoid of any iota of sentiments, agenda setting or ethnicity; INEC announced the result after due diligent collation of results from all local government areas of Kogi State and we make bold to say that this election is free, fair and credible and therefore acceptable to us”, the group added. (Daily Sun)
•PHOTO COMBO of the top contenders in the Kogi Governorship election (L-R): Usman Ododo of the APC, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka of the SDP , Dino Melaye of the PDP and Leke Abejide of the ADC.