The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Usman Ododo, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of Saturday’s governorship election.
Mr Ododo scored a total of 446,237 votes and is “hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” state returning officer Johnson Urama announced at the INEC collation centre in Lokoja at about 10:24 p.m. on Sunday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Ododo won in 13 of the 21 local government areas in the states.
INEC also declared the candidate of the SDP, Murtala Ajaka, as the runner-up with a total of 259,052 votes. He won in eight local governments.
Dino Melaye, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party scored 46,362 votes to take the third position. He did not win in any local government.
A total of 18 candidates took part in the election.
Sunday’s declaration made a nullity of INEC’s earlier announcement that supplementary elections would be held in dozens of polling units where irregularities were discovered.
Earlier Rescheduled Election
INEC had rescheduled the election in 59 polling units, where the poll was earlier suspended.
A National Commissioner and member of the Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mohammed Haruna, said in a statement Sunday that the suspended polls in the affected polling units would be held on Saturday, 18 November.
INEC had on Saturday suspended election in the polling units after confirming that result sheets meant for the units had been completed before voting started.
The affected polling units are in nine out of the 10 wards in Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area (LGA) in the Kogi Central senatorial of the state. The incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, and Mr Ododo, whom he virtually handpicked, hail from the district.
INEC noted on Sunday that although the incidents of filling of result sheets before the commencement of voting were reported in four local government areas in the zone, the issue was most serious in Ogori/Magongo LGA.
The other four LGAs where the incidents had been reported, according to INEC, were Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okehi, and Okene.
The commission, however, said the results from the four LGAs had already been “accounted for in Form EC40G for the four LGAs”.
Form EC40G is the final result sheet of the election in the state.
INEC said that for Ogori/Magongo LGA, “only the result of Oshobane Ward II with eight polling units and 2,264 registered voters” had been collated.
Given the seriousness of the case, INEC said, the election in 59 polling units in the remaining nine wards in the local government area would now be held on Saturday.
“Election 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 18th November 2023 in the affected Polling Units,” the statement said.
SDP’s Ajaka rejects the result
Mr Ajaka of the SDP has rejected the results from the entire Kogi Central zone, alleging that the completion of result sheets ahead of voting cut across the entire district.
On Sunday night, Mr Urama, the INEC returning officer, said the total votes in the 59 affected polling units would not affect the final result of the election based on the victory margin of Mr Ododo. He, therefore, declared him the winner.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999