Governors’ polls: Uzodimma, Diri lead early, Ododo, Ajaka battling for Kogi

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As results were tallied from Saturday’s governorship elections in the states of Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa, it became apparent that Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Hope Uzodimma of Imo State were leading candidates.

In the state of Bayelsa, the Peoples Democratic Party’s Diri is running for reelection, while the All Progressives Congress’s Uzodimma is likewise running for reelection.

But in Kogi State, where voting was still going on as of press time, our journalists covering the election and keeping an eye on the results collation process learned that Usman Ododo of the APC and Muri Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party were in a close battle. Another strong candidate in the election is Dino Melaye, the PDP’s nominee.

Along with the information from our correspondents in the states, Sunday PUNCH’s compilation of a portion of the results released on the INEC Result Viewing portal revealed the parties’ early performance.


For instance, the results of the vote computation in 131 randomly selected polling places spread throughout many local government areas in Bayelsa State revealed that PDP’s Diri had already received 13, 396 votes, while Timipre Sylva of the APC, his nearest rival, had received 4,802 votes.

APC candidate Uzodinma received 22,113 votes in Imo State, according to calculations made by our correspondents in 90 polling places that span several local government areas. In contrast, PDP candidate Samuel Anyanwu and Labour Party candidate Senator Athan Achonu received 1,452 and 1,658 votes, respectively.

Some of our correspondents calculated that APC’s Adodo received 21,047 votes in Kogi State, where the election is thought to be a three-horse race. Ajaka of the SDP received 7,324 votes, while Melaye of the PDP received 2,529 votes. The calculation was done across 149 polling units spread across five local government areas. Ajaka, meantime, was discovered to have received a significant number of votes in his own senatorial district of Kogi East.

At 11:03 p.m., the IReV portal showed that, of the 2,242 polling stations in Bayelsa State, 1,914 had results uploaded, accounting for 85.29 percent of the total results.

In Imo State, 4,287 polling units, or 90.1% of the 4,758 total polling units, have been uploaded as of 11:18 p.m., according to the portal.

3.064 polling units, or 87.34 percent, of the 3,508 polling units in Kogi State had been uploaded as of 11:20 p.m., according to the portal.

Voter tampering and violence disrupt surveys

A person was killed in Imo State, among other incidents of violence, low voter turnout, and vote-buying plagued the polls. Results of voter intimidation and electoral material theft were also reported.

Imo saw one death.

Voter intimidation, low voter turnout, vote-buying, and purloining of election materials hampered the Imo State poll.

On Saturday night in Amanwozuzu, in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, another guy, simply named Chidi but often known as General, was shot and killed.

“A man known as Chidi but popularly called General was shot dead this (Saturday) evening in the Amanwozuzu area of Iho in the Ikeduru LG,” an eyewitness, who begged to remain anonymous, told our correspondent.

They took away his suitcase after killing him. Men in uniform shot him to death. He was from Umuomumu Mbieri in the state’s Mbaitoli LG. Several officers have removed his corpse.

The dead was accused of stealing election papers, according to a second community source who corroborated the murder.

People have been observed walking around the state without casting a ballot. In some regions, intimidation and suppression of votes were observed, and in other places, youths were observed playing football on tarred roadways.

In locations like Orsu, Okigwe, Ideato North and South, and Oguta, election materials were stolen and taken to private residences.

Party agents were also observed by our correspondents purchasing votes. Votes were purchased for between N2,000 and N3,000 in the Owerri Municipal Council, for instance. Voters at Poling Units 007 and 008 of Adult Education Owerri Municipal were observed receiving N3,000 from part agents.

Some voters received N2,000 each after casting a ballot at the St. Paul’s Primary School Polling Units in Owerri Municipality. Additionally, N2,000 was used to purchase votes at Umuodu Community Primary School in the Mabitoli LG’s Ihihitte-Mbieri ward.

According to Kingsley Madu, a prominent member of the Labour Party, vote-buying was rampant and voters felt frightened.

Before APC members allegedly began going around with thugs, seizing voting materials, discouraging voters, and purchasing votes, the LP’s Tony Nwulu, the deputy governorship candidate, stated that his party was winning by a significant margin.

Cajetan Duke, the state spokesperson for the APC, disagreed, claiming that there were no voting irregularities committed by his party.

Tension was also high at the Orji Town Primary School in Owerri North, where voting at the center—which houses units 005, 006, and 007—nearly was ruined by vote-buying by party operatives. The exercise was uneventful save for sporadic arguments amongst party operatives who appeared determined to influence voters through financial incentives.

One voter said he still voted for the candidate of his choice after receiving N3,000, and he confirmed this. “I voted for the candidate of my choice even though I accepted their money,” the voter declared.

Bayelsa violence

The election in Bayelsa State was also tainted by violence, intimidation, and vote box snatching in certain local government districts. In several voting places in Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ekeremor, Nembe, Brass, Southern Ijaw, Sagbama, and Ogbia LGs, the exercise also revealed low voter turnout.

For example, voting materials were allegedly stolen by armed thugs who assaulted the settlements of Olodiama and Ologbobiri in Southern Ijaw LG, driving voters and election officers away from polling places.

At Biseni in Yenagoa, Sagbama, Nembe, and Brass LGs, a comparable incident also happened.

According to report,  an unidentified person’s death and several injuries sustained after a brawl between the main opposition APC and the ruling PDP supporters at Famgbe.

According to reports, supporters of both camps fired sporadic gunshots in an effort to seize control of the voting and accreditation processes early in the day.

The Famgbe village has one fatal shooting, and accreditation has not yet begun, according to a local who wished to remain anonymous. “Things are getting rather tight here. To intimidate supporters on opposing sides, the thugs from the APC and PDP began firing. The violence that occurred is being blamed on both sides by each other.

In Agorogbene, Sagbama LG, armed thugs are said to have broken into polling places, stealing ballot boxes while residents fled for their lives.

In the meantime, the state’s PDP and LP swapped charges of purchasing votes. Udengs Eradiri, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor of the state, said that Diri, the PDP candidate, was buying votes with cash.

However, in a rapid response, Sinkumo Ekisah, the state commissioner for special duties, denied the report, calling it a false alarm.

Imo does the same.

Low voter participation in Imo State has also been reported.

The PDP candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, claimed that his chances of winning would not be impacted by the tardy arrival of voting materials as he cast his ballot at the Central Primary School in Ikeduru at approximately 10.40 a.m.

But in Orji, Owerri North, Ikeduru, and Amaimo local government areas, polling started later than expected due to material delivery delays and voter indifference.
A few of voters who showed up to cast ballots waited to do so when one of our correspondents arrived at Unit 17, located along Orji Road, at approximately 8:35 a.m. Still, tables were set up by 9.30am when election officials arrived to start work. The voting place was not manned by a police officer at the moment.

Not sparing Kogi

There was likewise low voter turnout in some areas of Kogi State. When our writer visited Lokoja LG’s Polling Unit 073, which is located across from the Kenwon Hotel, only 65 voters were present, out of an anticipated 314.

Also, behind a tree beside Jane Palace Hotel, Moremi Area, a Polling Unit having 477 voters, just a few folks were visible in the queue.

Additionally, a correspondent of ours learned that there was vote-buying near Kenwon Hotel Polling Unit 073, as several voters received cash after casting their ballots.

Only a small percentage of the anticipated 523 people showed up to vote at Federal Medical Center intersection Polling Unit 058 in Lokoja. After casting their votes, some voters received N3,000.

In contrast, Sunday PUNCH found that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System performed admirably in the voting places they visited.

Stephen Ojo, a Christian Association of Nigeria election observer, praised INEC and the security services for a well-organized and orderly election.

Diri, Bello secure PUs.

Our correspondents at several stakeholders’ polling locations reported on their party’ performance in the exercise as the results were still being tallied.

The APC, the governor Yahaya Bello’s party, received 840 votes at the voting place in Kogi State, while the PDP and SDP received 0 votes each.

Dino, the PDP candidate, received 210 votes, to the APC’s 22, the ADC’s 7, and the SDP’s 1. Dino won his polling unit at Iluafon Quarters, Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ijumu LG.

SDP candidate Ajaka won his polling unit, Grade 1 Area Court, Ajaka Ward 07 in Igalamela/Odolu LG. He received 111 votes, the APC received five, and the PDP and ADC received none.

In his Kalama-Owei Wari Unit 4 Ward 6 in Sampou, Kolokuma/Opokuma, the governor and PDP candidate prevailed in Bayelsa State with 218 votes, while the APC received none. By contrast, the ADP received a single vote.

As of the time of publication, Sylva’s and the other candidates’ polling place totals were not yet verified.

The State of Imo

The PDP candidate in Imo State received 122 votes in polling unit 012, Central Ama Imo, Ikeduru LG, while the APC received two votes.

In Ehime Mbano LG, the LP candidate also prevailed in his Umunumo polling unit. He received 197 votes to the APC’s 16 votes.

Released INEC officer

On Saturday, the abducted Supervisory Presiding Officer of INEC in Bayelsa State was freed. At the Southern Ijaw LG’s Amassoma jetty on Friday, he was abducted.

According to a statement released on Saturday by Wilfred Ifogah, Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Bayelsa State, the official was doing well.

According to Ifogah, “The Bayelsa State Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission is happy to notify interested parties and worried Nigerian citizens that the INEC Special Protection Officer who was earlier kidnapped on election eve has been released and is doing well.

The SPO’s kidnapping was revealed by Ifogah in a statement on Friday. He also declared the capsize of a boat carrying electoral officers to Southern Ijaw LG’s Registration Area 17 (Koluama). “Thankfully, nobody perished as all twelve election staff members and the boat operator were saved,” he said.

The result sheets, power banks, and bags containing the personal belongings of the staff members lost during the event, he said, were being investigated.

Kogi ward polls are suspended.

Elections in nine wards in Kogi State’s Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area will not be held, INEC stated on Saturday. It gave election malpractices as the cause, including the instance of result sheets being completed before to voting.

On Saturday, Mohammed Haruna, the National Commissioner and Member of the Information and Voter Education Committee, released a statement confirming this.

The commission was informed by our representatives in Kogi State of instances of election malpractice, specifically the completion of result sheets prior to voting, he said. The occurrences are said to have happened in the LGs of Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi, and Okene. Nine out of ten Registration Areas were affected by the most serious incidents, which happened in Ogori/Magongo.

This is completely intolerable. Any outcome from the polling units that does not come from the commission’s process will not be accepted. The commission is committed to avoiding rewarding inappropriate conduct. Consequently, the election in the nine wards in Ogori/Magongo LGA (Eni, Okibo, Okesi, Ileteju, Aiyeromi, Ugugu, Obinoyin, Obatgben and Oturu) is at this moment halted.

“We’re looking into the incidents in the other local government areas in great detail, and we’ll be announcing the results and next steps within the next 24 hours.”

He announced that the commission will conduct an audit of staff members and materials to identify any potential participants in the process undermining. Every official assigned to a polling unit, whether supervisors, monitors, technical personnel, or other positions, is listed in our records, along with all the election-related materials that were sent to them. We’ll take appropriate action as needed, he continued.

Kick LP candidate Sylva

Shortly after voting at his Polling Unit 4, Ward 4 in Bayelsa State, the APC candidate took questions from the media and accused INEC for the register’s failure to upload, calling it “a careless mistake.”

He claimed the issue was brought to the attention of INEC’s national leadership by his camp. He did, however, commend the commission for making improvements to the way the polls were conducted, while acknowledging that more could be done.

He went on, “In certain instances, our people think that we are seeking for office to undermine security rather than the PDP. We shall win, nevertheless, in the end.

I’ve been informed that there has been a great deal of violence in Yenagoa. Indeed, I woke up this morning to a report that one of my party members had been shot. By afternoon, there were situations where certain areas had been taken over by the army, particularly in Bayelsa State. I would say there has been significant progress for INEC.

“However, I was taken aback to see that the reckless error only occurred in my ward and that the units that were targeted were huge, densely populated units. ”

The LP candidate in the state also criticized the poll’s administration, claiming that it was riddled with anomalies such as vote buying and selling. Prior to election day, he also asserted, INEC had altered the identity of LP polling agents.

“Unfortunately, vote-buying was the order of the day, and the people were encouraging it and being bought,” Yenagoa LG Eradiri stated in a statement to media following his vote in his Agudama-Ekpetiama community.

As you cast your ballot, you gather your tallies; you may observe the buying and selling of votes taking on behind the scenes. People are clearly casting their votes to confirm. Therefore, what you do matters not to people. Money is all they are interested in.

“I am disappointed not only in the process but also in the people. I was duped into believing that everyone would see the depravity of poverty, neglect, and incompetent leadership, and that this understanding would determine the voting pattern.”

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