GOVERNOR Yahaya Bello of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been returned to office after the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) declared him the winner of the Kogi State gubernatorial elections which took place over the weekend.
On Saturday, Kogians went to the polls to elect a new governor in what was a two-horse race between Governor Bello and Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This morning, Inec announced the results, declaring that Governor Bello polled a massive 406,222 votes to Mr Wada’s 189,704 votes, meaning he has been re-elected for a second term in office.
Professor Ibrahim Garuba, the vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Inec’s returning officer declared Governor Bello the winner, having scored the highest number of votes during the poll. He said the total number of cancelled votes were 149,576 and that the margin of lead was 216,518.
Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party came third in the exercise with 9,482 votes. Yesterday, Inec, suspended further collation of results until today after 19 local governments had been collated their results, while those for Ibaji and Lokoja were being awaited.
However, this morning, the collation resumed and after the clarifications, Garbadeen Olugbenga, the returning officer for Ibaji gave the result of the local government area. he revealed that the APC polled 12,682 votes while the PDP polled 10,594 votes, with the total registered voters being 66,675 but that only 25,598 of them were accredited and the total votes cast in the area were 25,258.
In Lokoja, the returning officer said there were 137,301 registered voters but that only 34,897 voters were accredited, with APC scoring 19,451 votes while the PDP got 11,059. During the collation, Inec announced the cancellation of votes in many polling units and local governments across the state due to ballot box snatching, violence, over-voting and fighting.
Already, the PDP and Mr Wada have rejected the result, describing it as a ruse that would be challenged at the tribunal. According to the PDP, there was widespread violations of the Electoral Act, so consequently, its agent, Captain Joe Agada refused to sign the final copy of the result.