Reports reaching the desk of Africa Today News, New York has it that Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Usman Ododo as the winner of the Kogi governorship election.
Professor Johnson Urama who served as the returning officer, announced that the APC candidate scored 446,237 votes to defeat other candidates in the election held on November 11th, 2023.
The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Yakubu Murtala Ajaka came second with 259,052 votes while Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party, came a very distant 3rd with 46,362 votes.
‘Ahmed Usman Ododo of the APC having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,’ the returning officer said.
Meanwhile, INEC has ordered a fresh election in some suspended areas in the Kogi State governorship election. The fresh poll would be held on Saturday November 18.
The commission had last night suspended nine out of 10 wards in Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area due to result sheets completed before the commencement of voting.
In a statement by Mohammed Kudu Haruna, National Commissioner and member, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC claimed that the decision to order fresh election 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.
According to the statement: ‘Further to our statement on Saturday, 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 LGA.
‘We received reports of similar and other incidents in Adavi (five Polling Units in Okunchi/Ozuri/Onieka Ward), Ajaokuta (five Polling Units in Adogo Ward), Okehi (one Polling Unit in Eika/Ohizenyi Ward) and Okene (five 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 18th November 2023 in the affected Polling Units.
‘The decision to hold fresh elections is subject to the Returning Officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle.
‘However, this decision is without prejudice to our avowed commitment to follow the audit trail of personnel and materials to ascertain those who may have been complicit in undermining the process and apply appropriate sanctions where necessary.
‘The commission wishes to reiterate its assurances to voters in Kogi state that their votes will continue to count and their wishes respected,’ the statement submitted.