Thousands of Kogi residents will today cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in a keenly contested governorship election.
A total of 24 parties are taking part in the election. Although the registered voters in the state are 1,646,350, about 1,485,828 (90.2%) have collected their PVCs and are thus ready to vote in the 21 local governments of the state.
The incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC), hails from the central district of the state and hopes to make history as the first governorship candidate outside of Kogi East Senatorial District to be elected as governor.
His major challenger, Musa Wada, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is from Kogi East, the region with nearly twice the voting population of each of the other two districts. This setting offers an interesting contest with Kogi West having the potential to be the battleground for both candidates.
The build-up to today’s polls has been marked by violence, intimidation and outright attacks on candidates and their supporters. The development has given rise to apprehensions that the turnout of voters could be low.
The opposition parties are also not certain the police would be professional and impartial. The invasion of the hotel hosting the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, who is Chairman of the PDP campaign Council, also cast doubts on the police neutrality.
Although the battle is expected to be between the two main political parties, the APC and the PDP, the effects of other participating political parties cannot be underestimated. The Social Democratic Party’s Natasha Akpoti, Aisha Audu of the Young Peoples Party, Dele Bello-Williams of the Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria and Justina Abanida of the African Democratic Congress have the potential of affecting the fortunes of the two leading candidates, perhaps marginally.
The police have assured they would provide adequate security for voters, electoral officers and materials. Whether the voters trust the police enough to turn out en masse would be seen on Saturday.
Whichever way the pendulum swings, PREMIUM TIMES and the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development, have deployed a team of reporters and observers to effectively cover the developments and make them available to our readers in real-time. Follow this page for the reports on the voting process and the election results.
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