The All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer, Usman Ododo, has been declared winner of the November 11 Kogi State governorship elections.
Ododo was announced winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer for Kogi State and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof Johnson Urama, at 10.23 P.M. on Sunday.
“Ahmed Usman Ododo of APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” Urama announced to an audience mostly full of party agents and election observers.
According to the announcement, Ododo won the election with 446,237 votes, defeating the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Murtala Ajaka, who scored 259,052, while Dino Melaye, flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) received 46,362 votes.
The results from Kogi State’s 21 local government areas (LGAs) were collated on Sunday evening, with the APC candidate clearing over half of the 21 LGAs.
The announced election winner Ododo is an ex-Auditor General of Local Government in Kogi State and the preferred successor of the outgoing governor Yahaya Bello, who is completing his eighth year as governor.
Melaye and a few civil rights organisations had expressed concern on Saturday regarding “filled result sheets” in the North Central state’s Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area.
The PDP candidate also demanded that the exercise be stopped due to violence and vote-buying.
Following Melaye’s request, nine wards in the local government area had their elections suspended by INEC.
On Sunday night, along with the declaration of Ododo as winner, INEC announced that on November 18, 2023, new elections would be held in 59 polling places within the state’s Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area.
Nigeria’s electoral body, INEC, however, issued a condition for the polls to be held in the 59 polling units, given that “the decision to hold fresh elections is subject to the Returning Officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle”.
In the statement made late on Sunday, Urama stated that 16,247 Permanent Voter Cards were registered at the impacted polling places overall, and the figure, however, was negligible compared to the approximately 200,000 votes that the APC candidate Ododo received to defeat his nearest competitor Ajaka.
The margin of victory suggests that Saturday’s planned elections at the 59 voting places that INEC had originally planned would not take place.
Ajaka and Melaye have both expressed dissatisfaction with the results of the poll results, accusing INEC and security agencies of working with the ruling party in Kogi State.