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Nigeria: Imo, Kogi, Bayelsa Polls – Uzodinma, Ododo Win As Diri Maintains Lead

The Independent National Electoral Commission yesterday announced Governor Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Imo State.

The INEC also declared Usman Ododo of the APC as winner of the governorship election in Kogi State.

Uzodinma polled 540,308 votes to defeat Senator Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party’s Athan Achonu, who polled 71,503 and 64,081 votes respectively. The 15 other candidates got less than 10,000 votes each.

Ododo polled 446,237 followed by his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who polled 259,052 votes; Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 46,362 and Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Party (ADP), 21,819 votes.

The Kogi State Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Johnson Urama, said the number of cancelled votes in the areas where election did not hold was 16, 247 and could not substantially affect the outcome of the result.

Candidates of the major opposition parties in both elections rejected the outcome, describing it as a charade and mockery of the electoral process.

They alleged that elections were not held in the majority of the polling units but results were “manufactured” and uploaded on INEC’s Results Viewing (IReV) portal.

They also alleged that where elections were held, the results announced by INEC were at variance with what was uploaded on IReV.

The Publicity Secretary of PDP in Imo, Dr Ikenna Onuoha, said the party rejected the results declared by INEC in its entirety and would be challenging them in court.

“You know there was no election yesterday (Saturday), the purported election was a sham. We have rejected the election in its entirety. PDP won in over 200 polling units and was criminally cancelled. We’re going to court to seek redress and recover our mandate,” he said in a telephone interview with our correspondent.

His sentiment was shared by the spokesperson of the LP, Bright Ofurum, who described the election as a devastation of democracy.

“We will make our position known on the devastation and brutality we went through in various local government councils of Imo State. We will put them together and I will get back to you,” he told one of our correspondents on the phone.

Melaye, Ajaka reject results, demand cancelation

The candidate of the PDP for Kogi State gubernatorial election, Dino Melaye, rejected the election, calling for its cancellation. He described the election as a sham.

“There was no election, accreditation was done manually, BVAS not used, prepared result sheets were available before election.”

“INEC must cancel the election. We have evidence to back up. INEC has manifested gross incompetence; it cannot be trusted, it is biased and compromised,” he said.

The Social Democratic Party also called for the stoppage of the collation of the ongoing results until its investigation about the situation in Ogori-Magongo and other areas in Kogi Central is concluded.

In Bayelsa, Governor Duoye Diri of the PDP was ahead of APC’s Timipre Sylva and LP’s Udengs Eradiri in the results announced before the INEC adjourned the collation to today’s noon with two more local government areas being expected. Results in six out of the eight local government areas of the have already been collated and announced. The remaining two local governments are Brass and Southern Ijaw where Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver, hail from.

Opposition candidates and parties in Kogi called for suspension of the collation exercise and the outright cancellation of the entire election held in Kogi Central where Ododo and the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, hail from. They alleged that the results “stand logic on its held”.

Daily Trust reports that the violence that characterised the Saturday polls extended to the collation period on Sunday when a middle-aged man, George Sibo, identified as a supporter of the PDP was attacked and killed at the collation centre in Twon-Brass, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Also, the LP’s agent, Calistus Ihejiagwa, was beaten and bundled out of the Imo State Collation Centre in Owerri.

The agent had rejected the results collated from some local government areas, claiming they were at variance with what was on the IReV.

The INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, rejected his pleas to submit a petition before he was subsequently beaten and bundled out of the collation centre at 5:00am by some party agents despite the presence of security operatives while collation continued.

Meanwhile, INEC has said that fresh elections will be held on Saturday in the affected polling units in Kogi where election was suspended.

Some staff of the commission were reportedly caught with completed results sheets while election was still ongoing, which led to the suspension of election in the affected PUs.

INEC National Commissioner and Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mohammed Kudu Haruna, in a statement on Sunday, said the resolution of the commission was in line with Section 24(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Clause 59 of INEC Regulations and Guidelines on the Conduct of Elections 2022.

He noted that the decision to hold fresh elections was subject to the Returning Officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle.

“Further to our statement yesterday, we have received an update from our Kogi State office regarding the suspension of election in some locations in the state where result sheets were completed before the commencement of voting. The most critical incident occurred in nine out of 10 Wards in Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area (LGA).

“We received reports of similar and other incidents in Adavi (5 Polling Units in Okunchi/Ozuri/Onieka Ward), Ajaokuta (5 Polling Units in Adogo Ward), Okehi (1 Polling Unit in Eika/Ohizenyi Ward) and Okene (5 Polling Units in Obehira Uvete Ward). Results from the affected Polling Units have been accounted for in Form EC40G for the four LGAs.

“However, in the case of Ogori/Magongo LGA, only the result of Oshobane Ward II with eight Polling Units and 2,264 registered voters has been collated. Elections in the other nine Wards (Eni, Okibo, Okesi, Ileteju, Aiyeromi, Ugugu, Obinoyin, Obatgben and Oturu) involving 59 Polling Units and 15,136 registered voters remain suspended. In line with Section 24(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Clause 59 of INEC Regulations and Guidelines on the Conduct of Elections 2022, fresh election will be held on Saturday 18thNovember 2023 in the affected Polling Units,” Haruna said.

He also said that this decision was without prejudice to INECs commitment to follow the audit trail of personnel and materials to ascertain those who might have been complicit in undermining the process and apply appropriate sanctions where necessary.

INEC officials held hostage, PDP, APC protest at Bayelsa collation centre

In Bayelsa, INEC said its officials were held hostage in Brass Local Government Area of the state. The commission announced this on Sunday, calling on security agencies to facilitate their release.

“Unfolding situation in Brass Local Government Area, the commission is closely watching the situation in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State where our officials are held hostage.”

This is even as supporters of both the PDP and APC held parallel protests across the streets of Yenagoa and the collation centre where they camped for hours before the INEC suspended collation of the results to today’s noon.

Jubilation in Owerri as Akpabio, Sanwo-Olu, others congratulate Uzodinma

Some residents of Owerri Municipal Council and its environs yesterday jubilated over the victory of Uzodinma; while others were going about their normal businesses.

A resident, John Amadi, said there was nothing to celebrate as Imo just like other states in the country was battling with economic hardship.

A lecturer at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Peter Mba, said the people were more interested in good governance than the winner of the poll.

Meanwhile, Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu have congratulated Governor Uzodinma on his re-election.

In his congratulatory message issued on Sunday in Abuja, Akpabio commended Uzodinma for his resilience and commitment to genuine democratic practices saying that good governance had triumphed over propaganda.

Sanwo-Olu, in a congratulatory message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said Uzodinma’s success in the election was a validation of people’s acceptance of his administration, having impacted positively in the lives of the citizens during his first term in office.

Sanwo-Olu said Uzodinma’s victory was a clear manifestation that the APC remained the party of choice for Nigerians, stressing that the party would continue to work in the best interest of Nigerians in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.

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