BY EMMAN OVUAKPORIE

IN spite of the scorching sun, Kogites went out last Saturday to elect a new governor, who will pilot the affairs of the state christened Confluence State for the next four years.

They defied apprehensions that the gubernatorial polls might be trailed by violence to exercise their civil responsibility.

The turnout of voters in the morning hours was low but by midday the queues had become longer. They completed their accreditation without incidents of ballot snatching or rigging as largely envisaged in the capital, Lokoja. The electorate also cast their ballots peacefully. Not even a gunshot was heard till the end of the exercise.

Security was also at its peak in Kogi. All the security agencies that monitored the election exhibited rare courage as cases of police brutality associated with elections in the past were near absent.

Results started trickling in as from 11 pm as some interior areas like Ibaji Local Government got their electoral materials late.

The dark spot

Explaining to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Shamsudeen Abali what happened at Ibaji, the polling officer attached to the area said, “because the materials got there late the voters insisted that the materials must be inspected or they will not vote”.

Cancellation of seven units

He said the INEC official refused and this led to the cancellation of seven units in the local government. The official returned all electoral materials to the polling officer at about 8pm. It was an isolated case as in other places like Okene, which are known for violence, the election went on smoothly.

In Adavi, considered as a potential black spot, voting commenced in good time and no violence was recorded.

ACN’s rumoured victory

After the exercise, rumour rent the air that the main opposition Action Congress of Nogeria (ACN) had won the election in Lokoja and by the following day it was clear that it was just a harmless rumour. This rumour that could have led the state into violence failed as the Kogi remained peaceful after PDP was declared winner barely 14 hours later.

Wada: acknowledging cheers... after declared winner

Hitch-free voting in rural areas

In the rural areas too, voting went on without hitches as security agents consisting of both the Police and men of the Nigeria Army patrolled from one area to the other ensuring that peace reigned in the state.

INEC Announces PDP as winner

Announcing the result last Saturday, Prof. Abali noted that the election was peaceful saying, “with the powers conferred on me by the constitution, the election was peaceful and I hereby declare the PDP that has the highest votes cast winner of the governorship election”.

The beauty of this last election in the state is that people came out to exercise their right without fear of intimidation or threats to life and property, he added.

Why PDP won

The PDP probably had a better strategy that guaranteed its victory at the polls.

One of its masterstrokes was the fielding of an Okun man as the deputy governorship candidate and making an Ebira man the Speaker of the state House of Assembly.

The Okuns, for a long time, had wanted their son to at least be at the Executive arm of government and the emergence of Yomi Awoniyi, the son of late astute politician, Chief Sunday Awoniyi paid off handsomely.This immensely accounted for the success PDP recorded in the Okun axis of the state where it polled 10,505 votes to the ACN’s 6,678 votes in Kabba/ Bunu.

In Ijumu, the PDP triumphed beating AC N with 8,363 to 5,903 votes.

Also, the emergence of an Ebira son as the speaker spoke volume as the PDP recorded a massive 35,593 votes against the 7,368 votes of the main opposition party in Okene.

The above strategies adopted by the PDP played a vital role in the manner Kogites voted for the party.

The ethnic angle

They voted according to tribal dictates as the Igalas who are more populous enjoyed their numerical advantage. All the political parties fielded only candidates from the Igala extraction. As of now, any attempt to field a non _Igala man was presumed to be dead on arrival in any guber poll in the Confluence State.

The Igalas too will only support their own and this has remained since the creation of Kogi State carved in 1991.

The voting pattern last Saturday further confirmed the dominance of the Igala tribe that spread across four states in North-Central geo-political zone of the country.

The fact that all the guber candidates hailed from the Igala race did not divide the votes as the popular ones still held their heads high above their peers.

The results

In Dekina, Captain Idris Wada’s hometown, PDP recorded a whooping 72,102 votes against 15,764 votes got by ACN’s Abubakar Audu

In Ofu, the hometown of Audu, the ACN polled 16,592 votes against PDP’s 11,140.

In Bassa Local Government PDP scored 14,675 as against ACN’s 7,371.

Other results include:

Ibaji, PDP (22,048), ACN (8,502) though the results of seven units were cancelled as a result of ballot snatching and kidnapping and largely due to the incompetence of the INEC official sent to the area; Idah (PDP- 9,683 and ACN- 5,766); Igalamela LG (ACN – 5,886 and PDP – 14,316).

In Ijumu the AC N recorded 5,903 while PDP got 8,363; at Kabba/Bunu, ACN clinched 6.678 votes against PDP’s 10,505 votes and in Koton Karfe LG, the AC N had 6,074 and PDP got 9,896.

In the state capital, Lokoja, the AC N amassed 13,194 votes as opposed to PDP’s 21,856.

Relatedly, in Mopa Moro LG, the AC N scored 1,422 against 5,933 of the PDP; in Ogorimagogo, it was AC N 1,066 and PDP scored 3,108.

IN Okehi LG, the AC N with 7,368 trailed the PDP that polled 18,035 votes.

ACN had the upper hand in Olamaboro LG with10,209 votes against PDP’s 8,401. In Yangba East ACN scored 4,160 while PDP polled 7,818. And in Yangba West, AC N polled 4,342 votes against PDP’s 7,758 votes.

How other parties fared

The Congress for Progressive Chnage, CPC scored 5,724 votes; All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) recorded 9,642 while Justice Party recorded 619 Votes.

Out of the 1,325, 272 registered voters only 518,949 or 39.16 per cent voted out of which the valid votes cast were 484,168 and rejected ballots stood at 34,781.

From the above, less than 40 percent of the registered voters voted in the election a clear indication that most registered voters did not partake in the election acclaimed to be one of the most relatively peaceful in recent time.

I ‘ll run an inclusive govt – Wada

The Governor-elect, Capt. Wada in what could be described as his unofficial maiden speech, said his style of governance would be all inclusive as there was no victor or vanquished in the election.

I disagree with election outcome — Audu

However, Audu has rejected the result of the election.

Speaking on behalf of Audu with newsmen just as INEC was releasing the official result, the Chief Strategist, Audu Campaign Organisation, Hon. Dino Melaye, said the results were manipulated and that as such, the ACN would seek legal means to reverse the result

According to the result declared by the former Vice Chancellor (VC), University of Ilorin and serving VC, Nasarawa State University, Professor Shamsudeen Amali (the Chief Returning Officer), Wada of the PDP received 300, 372 votes to win the election while Audu of the ACN recorded 159, 912 votes to come second.

Audu...rejects election result

Audu described the result as “Satanic”, claiming that it did not reflect the aspirations of the people of the state.

Dino alleged ‘scientific rigging’, which he described as “rigging without violence”.

“It is pathetic, painful and disheartening that the PDP has graduated from the use of thugs, police, military and other forms of intimidation to ‘scientific rigging’. The result announced does not represent the true pattern of votes cast yesterday (Saturday). Seven units were cancelled in Olamaboro because we won there.

“The results are manipulated at LGA level. INEC collaborated with the PDP and the police to make sure that duplicate copies of the result sheets with the same serial numbers were available to the ruling PDP. And they also know that INEC is the principal witness even if one challenges the result, but I want to assure you that we have proofs. So when we get to the bridge we will cross it”, he stated.

He also bemoaned the scanty presence of policemen and other security operatives around the polling stations, claiming that it was a deliberate ploy by the ruling party to manipulate the outcome of the election.

He noted that after the discovery of anomalies, the ACN withdrew its agents and directed them not to append their signatures on the results. “Whoever signed for the ACN is a PDP member because we withdrew our agents as soon as we discovered their antics”, he said.

The ACN agent also did not sign the result sheet after the final result was announced at the INEC secretariat in Lokoja.

In spite of ACN’s complaints, one thing that can never be ruled out is that the election did not record any death on the voting day and after the declaration of the results.

Immediately the result was declared, the three other major contenders left the state. James Ocholi, the CPC flagbearer was said to have left for Abuja. Mr Ubolo Opanachi was nowhere to be found near the state capital. Hajia Aisha Audu was allegedly said not to have been around during the last Saturday election.

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