Joseph Amedu in Lokoja reports on the early exit poll on Saturdays’ governorship poll in the confluence state.
Bookmakers did not want to stick their heads out this time round and there were no predictable poll on the outcome of the elections except for supporters and members of the front running candidates of the ruling PDP and the rival APC who were sure either of their candidates, incumbent Governor Idris Wada and Abubakar Audu, respectively would win.
The issue of Mr. Audu’s trial of corruption by the EFCC, which accused him of ordering his aides to assault Haruna Ashade, an EFCC operative on March 4, had dominated the campaigns. Audu has however consistently denied any wrongdoing. The EFCC is prosecuting him for misappropriating N11 billion of the state’s funds while he was governor between 1999 and 2003.
But despite his ongoing corruption trial, the former governor almost emerged winner of the APC governorship primary held in Lokoja on August 29. Announcing the result yesterday, the Returning Officer Kogi state governorship election, Professor Emmanuel Kucha has declared the election inconclusive , saying the margin between the winner in the runner up is more than the cancelled votes in 19 local government areas of the state.
He said the margin between APC and PDP was 41,353 stressing that the cancelled votes was 49,953 which he noted is against the electoral act.
According to him “ applying the provision of the INEC guidelines regulation for the conduct of the 2015 election in page 22 and 23 , paragraph 4 section M , the Returning Officer is directed to act thus and I quote.
“ Whenever the margin of win between the two candidate ois not in excess of the total number of registered votes in the polling units were election are cancelled the returning officer is to decline to declare the winner until another poll is conducted and the result computed into a new form for declaration”
In a keenly contested governorship election in Kogi state over the weekend , the former governor of the state and the candidate of the All Progressive Congress Prince Abubakar Audu has over ran the incumbent governor and the candidate of the People Democratic Party Captain Idris Wada to take over the Lugard House.
Despite protest by the EFCC through a letter to the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir David Lawal, who copied the presidency and the party leadership, the ruling APC went ahead to field him despite opposition from aggrieved members in the state. After the heated campaigns, he was on his way to Lugard house with major results declared yesterday in the election held on Saturday.
As at press time yesterday, results from With results from 21 local governments had been released, showing Mr. Audu leading with 240, 867 votes as against the 199, 514 votes got by incumbent Governor Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Audu, floored Wada in 16 of the 21 local government areas in the state.
The local governments won by Audu are Ofu, Ida, Kabba Bunu, Yagba East, Yagba West, Adavi, Koton Karfi, Ankpa, Okehi, Ajaokuta, Ijumun, Olamaboro, Igalamela, Bassa, Lokoja, and Ibaji.
Wada held the ground in five local governments namely Ogori Mangogo, Omala, Okene, Dekina and Mopa-moro.
Mr. Audu is returning as governor of the state 12 years after he was defeated by the PDP as he sought a second term.
Now that the INEC has declared the result inconclusive, he may have to wait for the date to be fixed and a fresh poll conducted in disputed areas before knowing whether he would return to the same office he vacated 12 years ago when the same PDP defeated him. And he would have escaped any form of prosecution or trial as he would have to enjoy the constitutional immunity from trial for the four years he would be in power.
Wada is still unsatisfied with the result, stating that the process was compromised by the electoral umpire, the INEC, for failure of the card reader in many polling units.
He observed some hitches experienced with some of the card readers at Odu-Ogboyaga in Dekina Local Government of the state.
He expressed the concern shortly after completing the processes of accreditation.
He said: ‘’A situation where in a single election in one day, card readers are disappointing us in spite of INEC’s postulations that it has provided backups, is unfair.
“There are so many people here; they are going to be disenfranchised. It is completely unfair.
‘’It is wrong.
They say they have few Incidence Forms; there is no photocopy machine here. How are people going to vote?
“It seems to be a deliberate attempt to frustrate the whole process.
‘’I am going to call the REC immediately here and I hope they will do something about it.
‘’This is because most Nigerians are looking forward to this election
“My wife’s voter card was recognised and her name is on the register but they did not find her name on the sheet they are using. So, she had to fill the Incident Form.
“I don’t know what is going on but I will not rush to make judgment but I just hope the authorities are hearing and I hope they will take immediate action.
‘’This is because this election is a litmus test on Nigeria’s democracy.
‘’There is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of the people”, he said.
But his Deputy, Yomi Awoniyi, was on a different page with him. He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the smooth conduct of the governorship election in the state.
He made the commendation shortly after casting his vote at Ward 4, Unit 4, Mopa in Mopa- Amuro Local Government Area of the state.
Mr. Awoniyi, who cast his votes at about 1.42 p.m., said the electoral arrangement in the state was the first of its kind, noting that “everything has been calm and peaceful except at ward 7 Unit 1, where there was little crisis which has been resolved’’.
He urged the people of the state to abide by the electoral laws by voting peacefully.
The deputy governor said that the PDP would follow due process after the results of the election were announced.
Meanwhile INEC’s Presiding Officer for Odu Ward 1, Unit 001, Yahaya Nuhu, said the accreditation was smooth in spite of the hitches with the card readers.
Nonetheless, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the election so far.
He gave his impression about the election shortly after casting his vote at about 1.45 p.m. at Ogbonicha ward in Ofu Local Government Area of the state.
In all, 22 candidates participated, except for the candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Zainab Usman, announced her withdrawal from the contest on Friday night.
Ms. Usman, the only female in the race, withdrew and then asked her supporters to vote for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Abubakar Audu.
Even so her name still appeared in the ballot because the withdrawal came a day before the poll when the election materials were already printed and in safe keeping by the INEC.
Although two candidates are prominent, namely Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party and Abubakar Audu of the All Progressives Congress, other parties such as the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Accord and 18 others have registered their names on the list of contestants for the coveted office.
While the two leading parties had profound rallies and campaigned throughout the 21 local governments and 239 wards of the state, the other parties managed outings barely noticed by the generality of the citizenry.
The Independent National Electoral Commission in the state has put the number of registered voters in the state at 1,397,786.
With 4,548 polling units across the state, there would be over 31,836 policemen manning the units according to Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.