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Bello coasting home to re-election in Kogi

KOGI State Governor Yahaya Bello is set to retain his seat.

He is ahead in results announced so far from 19 local government areas (LGAs) after Saturday’s governorship election.

Only two LGAs are left.

The governor is leading his closest rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Musa Wada with a margin of about 200,000.

Results from Ibaji LGA, with 76,575 registered voters, and Lokoja LGA with 137,301 are being awaited.

The State Collation Officer, Prof Ibrahim Umar, announced that the final results will be announced today.

He made the announcement after consulting with party agents and observers to allow the two remaining collation officers more time.

Collation of official results from the 21 LGAs began at the INEC collation centre at about 10.30 am on Sunday, with the result from Ogori Mangongo.

Bello is leading Wada with over 200,000 votes after votes from 19 of the 21 LGAs were declared.

While the incumbent scored 375, 083 votes, Wada garnered 168, 144 votes.

Bello won in 10 of the 19 LGAs declared already while the PDP took the remaining nine.

Three National Commissioners and three Resident Electoral Commissioners were present.

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ibrahim Umar is the state Collation Officer.

There was heavy security in and around the INEC headquarters in Lokoja.

Over 30 patrol vans and heavily armed mobile policemen were stationed around the place.

Security patrol in the town was relaxed, but residents and traders around the INEC headquarters, especially food vendors, made brisk business selling food and water to the deluge of journalists and election observers at the INEC headquarters.

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. James Apam, disclosed that an ad-hoc Electoral Officer (EO) died in a boat mishap in Ibaji local government of the state while on election duty on Saturday.

According to the REC, the deceased ad-hoc staff was a student of the Kogi State Polytechnic Lokoja, engaged for the governorship election in the state. A minute silence was observed in honour of the staff whose name was not disclosed.

As the collation progresses, the Collation Officer for Igalamela Odulu LGA, Dr Evans Ashiwuike, reported inducement of an electoral officer to influence the election results from the area where Wada won.

Dr Ashiwuike, who is an Associate Professor with the University of Abuja said the Senior Presiding Office for Odolu reported that one of the presiding officers was offered money to influence the result in the area.

He said “the SPO informed me about the inducement. The Presiding Officer collected the money which is N50,000 and handed it over to the Senior Presiding Officer who handed it to the Electoral Officer who handed it over to me. I have the exhibit here”, he said.

He later presented a brown envelope containing the money to the State Collation Officer.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent at the collation centre, Jerry Agada said his party was rejecting the results of Saturday’s governorship election in Okene and Okehi LGAs, saying the results were manipulated.

He claimed that PDP party agents did not participate in any exercise in the two LGAs as they were excluded from exercise,  except the APC agents.

He wondered how voter participation of about 39 per cent in Okene suddenly rose to 86.9 per cent.

He said the figures from Okene will go into the Guinness book of record, saying the PDP was rejecting the result because its agents were not allowed into any voting centre in the area.

He said there was no election in Okehi and that PDP agents were not allowed to participate in any credible exercise and called for the cancellation of the results from the area.

But the agent of the APC, Idris King, dismissed the claims adding that there was no violence wondering in Okene, saying the election went on peacefully without any incident.

Bello polled 11,425 votes to defeat Wada in Ijumu LGA, where Senator Dino Melaye hails from.

The Returning Officer for Mopamuro LGA, Dr Isa Mohammed Nurudeen, reported that 915 votes were cancelled in two wards due to ballot box snatching and vandalisation.

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honormeh Aganga

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