The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 149,576 votes were cancelled in Kogi State due to violence, ballot box snatching and other incidences that characterised last Saturday’s governorship election.
The commission declared Governor Yahaya Bello as the governor-elect for another four-year term.
Bello, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), scored a total of 406,222 to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Musa Wada, who polled 189,704 votes.
Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) came third with 9482 votes.
The State Collation Officer and Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ibrahim Garba declared Bello as the winner, adding that he met the requirement of the law to be so declared.
He put the margin of victory at 216,518. A total of 636,202 voters were accredited from the 1,646,356 registered voters with 610,744 valid votes cast, while 13,770 votes were rejected.
Bello got majority votes in 12 of the 21 local government areas.
The governor got majority votes in Ogori Magongo, Ijumu, Adavi, Okene, Kabba Bunu, Kogi/Kotonkarfe, Okehi, Mopa Moro, Ajaokuta, Olamoboro, Ibaji and Lokoja local government areas.
The PDP candidate won in Dekina, Bassa, Ofu, Ankpa, Yagba West, Yagba East, Idah, Igalamela Odou and Omala local government areas.
Bello also got the mandatory one third in 20 local governments.
The agent of the PDP at the Collation Centre, Captain Jerry Agada, refused to sign the result sheet, saying he did not agree with the figures.
According to him, the party would take the process further by testing the outcome at the tribunal.
He claimed that about three people died in Lokoja metropolis due to violence, stressing that a report of the casualty figure was not reflected in the result presented by the collation officer for the local government.
He added that the party agents submitted a report on four areas within Lokoja, the state capital, where election did not take place.
Agada said what is contained in the report by the local government collation officer is a report of three places.
He demanded to know from the Inspector-General of Police what happened to the policeman arrested for shooting a voter on the line, adding that elections were cancelled in about 147 polling centres.
He also claimed that the Collation Officer did not include in his report that a helicopter flown by an officer of the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) of the police shot and killed a voter waiting to cast his vote and was later brought down and the officer arrested.
He presented the State Collation Officer a report from his PDP agents in the local government to back his claim.
But the presentation was politely declined by the Collation Officer, Prof. Ibrahim Garba.
Prof. Garba told him that after completing his assignment of collating the results and announcing the winner of the election, he would have nothing to do with the electoral process as he was not an authority.
He asked him to compile his evidence and submit to the appropriate authorities at INEC, which has the powers to examine his presentation and act on it where necessary.
Bello described the outcome of the election as a victory for true democracy.
In a statement by his Director-General, Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, the governor said the victory will spur him to do more.
He said: “This victory is for Kogi people that value true democracy. And, we can assure that Governor Bello will not abandon his campaign slogan, which expresses his desire to do more for Kogi people.
“We thank Kogites who voted for us. We also thank Kogi people who did not vote for us; they have challenged the governor to do more for them to earn their confidence.
“We urge the Peoples Democratic Party to act to exemplify the spirit of sportsmanship by accepting the verdict of Kogi people. We also thank the party hierarchy for throwing their weight behind the governor.
“We thank INEC, security operatives and other public institutions for ensuring that the election was free, fair, credible and peaceful. Governor Bello will do more for Kogi, Kogites will be better for it.”
Also yesterday, Wada described the election as a coup against the Kogi people.
At a news conference in Abuja, he vowed to challenge Governor Bello’s victory.
The PDP candidate said the overwhelming majority of the people rejected the election’s outcome.
Wada said: “It is clear to all that there was no election on Saturday, November 16th 2019 but a declaration and execution of war against the people.
“What happened in Kogi was an organised war against democracy; coup against the people and seizure of power through brigandage and the barrel of the gun with members of the police and other security agencies coordinating the stealing of people’s votes.
“The police aided armed APC thugs to invade polling units with impunity, shoot and kill voters and carted away ballot boxes to government facilities where results were written in favour of APC and handed over to INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) to announce against the will of the people.
“Police helicopters were used to attack polling units, fire tear gas on voters and provided cover to APC hoodlums and policemen who brutalised the people of Kogi state and stole their mandate.
“The APC turned our state into a theatre of war. No fewer than nine innocent Nigerians were killed. Many more were maimed and injured by the APC in their desperation to seize power at all cost.
“It is, therefore, distressing that INEC went ahead with a shameful collation and declaration of fabricated results despite the glaring disruptions that characterised the shambolic exercise.”
Wada accused INEC of cancelling votes cast for the PDP in the party’s strongholds, subtracted from PDP votes in many other areas and padded the votes of the APC to give a semblance of victory to APC.
He said the people of Kogi were horrified, brutalised and dehumanised during the exercise.
“We, therefore, stand with the people of Kogi to state without equivocation that this brigandage and stealing of our mandate cannot stand.
“We will never despair but remain strong in our determination to retrieve the mandate freely given to us by the people in their desire for a change. We will pursue this course to its logical conclusion within the confines of the law of this country,” he added.