The All Progressives Congress was all smiles last night as it made good its promise to take Bayelsa State, winning outright the governorship contest even as it took a comfortable lead in Kogi State, where results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 19 of 21 local governments assures it of certain victory.
Already, INEC has announced APC as the winner of the Kogi West senatorial election held alongside the governorship poll on Saturday. Its candidate, Senator Smart Adeyemi, was declared winner with 80,118 votes, while Senator Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 59,548 votes from the seven local government areas in the senatorial district.
The elections, marred by violence, ballot snatching and killing in the states, however, drew condemnations from the PDP, which accused the military of providing cover for hoodlums to unleash terror on voters and polling officials.
The international community and local observers also decried the spate of violence, saying the conduct of the elections fell below acceptable standards.
The police in Kogi State confirmed three persons dead and 10 others arrested for alleged electoral offences.
In a major upset that has changed the political landscape in the South-south of Nigeria, the APC’s David Lyon was declared winner by INEC, saying he scored 352,552 votes to triumph against his major opponent, Senator Douye Diri of the PDP, who scored 143,172 votes.
The margin of votes between the two contestants stood at 209,380 votes in a contest that 43 other political parties participated in.
The election, which held in 105 Wards and 2,244 Polling Units, spread across the eight local governments of the state was blighted by late commencement of the electoral process; incidents of violence, ballot box snatching, over voting and sporadic gunshots.
Bayelsa has a disturbing history of electoral violence, which reared its ugly head again in the 2019 governorship contest.
The election produced many surprises. In Ogbia local government, home of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP suffered a setback, losing to the APC with a wide margin.
The party, which was previously in opposition in the state also won in Yenagoa, Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Brass local governments.
The PDP could only win in two LGAs, Sagbama (Governor Dickson’s home) and Kolokuma/Opokuma (Diri’s LGA).
In the home local government of Dickson, Sagbama local government and in Kolokuma/Opokuma, where Diri hails from, the PDP made a good showing, garnering its largest number of votes of 60,339 in Sagbama. Dickson roundly won the APC beating the opposition which had a paltry 7,831 votes.
The Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, received the results from the Local Government Collation Officers.
He stated that the total votes cast stood at 505,884 while the total valid votes were 499,551.
He added that 6,333 votes were rejected in the election in which the PDP scored 143, 173 leaving the APC’s to take the bigger chunk of the votes, totalling 352,552.
“I, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, hereby certify that I am the Returning Officer for the Bayelsa State governorship election held on 16th day of November 2019.
“That the candidates recorded the following votes… Lyon David of the APC got 352,552 votes…while the PDP candidate, Diri Douye got 143,172 votes.
“That Lyon David, having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby returned elected,” he said.
As for Southern Ijaw, the home of Lyon, the APC candidate, the PDP was roundly defeated with over 120,000 votes. The party scored an inconsequential 4,898 to succumb to the APC’s 124,803.
In Ekeremor, the APC again showed its newly found winning streak in Bayelsa with the APC garnering 21,489 to the PDP’s 18,344.
Senator Heineken Lokpobiri who is in court against Lyon, had earlier asked his supporters to vote for the party irrespective of the last judicial outcome.
Bukola Idowu, Executive Director, Kimpact Development Initiative, whose organisation has conducted a study known as the Nigerian Election Violence Report (NEVR), noted that there was no reduction in the incidents of violence from what happened in the last general election in Bayelsa State.
Also, addressing newsmen as INEC began to announce collated results on Sunday, Diri accompanied leaders of the PDP, including Governor Bala Mohammed, Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council for Bayelsa State and the party’s National Vice Chairman for the South-south zone hinted at a rejection of the result which he said was doctored by the APC in collusion with the Nigerian Army.
The Bauchi governor also alluded to a matter which his party brought before the court challenging the eligibility of the APC deputy governorship candidate, who allegedly told a lie on oath. The APC governorship ticket was also challenged in another suit by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, for failure of the APC to conduct a proper primary.
Both matters were decided at the trial courts against the APC and its candidate, a few days to the election, but appealed both judgments under circumstances that are still not clear and retained its place in the governorship contest.
Bala said: “Ordinarily, if this is a law abiding country, the APC is not supposed to be on the ballot. That party has no candidate in this election as far as we are concerned. All the votes credited to it should be declared void.’’
Giving credence to the allegation against the Nigerian army, Diri wondered if soldiers have become part of the electoral process.
He said: “We have very credible information that the Nigerian Army aided and abetted the opposition to change results, that we were poised to win.”
APC Leads Comfortably in Kogi State
In Kogi State, the results of 19 local government areas were announced during the collation, while the collation of the remaining two local governments will be continued by today.
APC’s Yahaya Bello and incumbent governor was in a clear lead with 372,982 votes ahead of Mr. Musa Wada of the PDP, who polled 168,145 votes. The third force, Ms. Natacha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) scored 8,470 votes.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. James Akpam, supervised the announcement of the results by the returning officers of the local government areas, in the presence of security agents, party agents, observers and the Returning Officer for the state governorship election, Prof. Mohammed Umar, who is the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The results include: Ogori Magongo LGA: APC -3,679; PDP-2,145; SDP- 244; Ijumu LGA: APC – 11,425; PDP – 7,587; SDP-233; Omala LG: APC -8473, PDP-14,403, SDP-567; Adavi LGA: APC -64,657; PDP- 336, SDP -279; Igalamela/Odolu LGA: APC-8,075; PDP-11195,SDP- 208; Okene LGA:
APC- 112,764, PDP-139, SDP- 50; Kabba/ Bunu LGA: APC-15,364, PDP- 8,084, SDP -364; Kogi LGA: APC -14,097, PDP- 9,404, SDP – 657 and Yagba East LG: APC- 6,735,PDP- 7546, SDP- 220
Others are Okehi LG: APC-36,954, PDP-478,SDP-3,015; Mopamuro LG: APC -4,853 PDP -3581, SDP . 95; Ajaokuta: APC -17,952 PDP-5,565; SDP- 323; Idah LG: APC -4,602,PDP- 13,952, SDP-221; Olamaboro LGA : APC -16,876 PDP- 8,155 SDP-262; Yagba West: APC-7,868,PDP-8,860 ,SDP-221; Bassa LG:APC -8,386,PDP -9,724, SDP -269; Ankpa LG: APC-11,209,PDP-28108,SDP- 390; Ofu LGA: APC-11, 006; PDP-12,164,SDP, 531 and Dekina LGA: APC- 8,948,PDP- 16,575, SDP-321
The results of Ibaji LGA and Lokoja LGA will be announced today.
International Observers Condemn Widespread Violence in Bayelsa, Kogi Elections
The international community, under the aegis of Diplomatic Watch, an umbrella body for the international community in Nigeria, condemned the violence and intimidation that characterised the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
It said in a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, it said reports from its teams from Austria, the European Union Delegation, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States on the elections gave a damning verdict on the conduct of the elections.
The statement was jointly issued by Austria, the European Union Delegation, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States Embassies.
The international community, in the statement, said: “We express our alarm at reports of widespread incidents of violence and intimidation, some of which were witnessed by our teams in Kogi. There are reports of fatalities and people missing, including INEC staff. Our thoughts are with all victims and their families.
“We encourage all stakeholders, in particular political leaders, to call for calm and we encourage security agencies to investigate thoroughly and bring perpetrators to justice.”
It said it was concerned by evidence of vote buying and credible reports of ballot box snatching in both states.
PDP Accuses Security Agents of Aiding Ballot Box Snatchers, Others
In its reaction, the PDP said yesterday that the conduct and outcome of the governorship elections had destroyed the hope Nigerians had in democratic practice.
The party, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, accused the APC-led government of trampling on democracy with utmost impunity that can only be obtainable in Hitler’s Germany and Samuel Doe’s Liberia, where the lives and rights of citizens meant nothing to suppressive power mongers.
It accused security forces of aiding armed hoodlums to invade polling centres, to shoot and kill innocent citizens, cart away ballot boxes, stuff them with already thumb printed ballot papers in favour of APC.
“It is distressing that under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, votes no longer count; power and governance no longer derive from the people but from violence, manipulations and the barrel of the gun,” it stated.
On the elections in Kogi State, the PDP, in another statement, cautioned INEC over the fictitious votes being bandied from Okene and other areas to favour the APC.
The party demanded the immediate cancellation of such allocated results, particularly in Okene Local Government Area.
The party said nobody would accept the provocative alteration of results from polling units as well as allocation of fictitious votes, particularly the awarding of 112, 000 votes to APC in Okene.
The Bayelsa State Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Moses Cleopas, accused the GOC of using the men under his command, especially the Commander of the Artillery Brigade, Lt Col. Wase, to perpetrate electoral fraud in Bayelsa.
He accused Sarham of spearheading the desperate attempt to rewrite the result of the election to rig it in favour of the APC.
According to him, the soldiers arrested PDP leaders in Ogbia, including the council Chairman, Hon. Ebinyon Turner, and two lawmakers, Hon. Gibson Munalayefa and Mrs. Naomi Ogoli.
Three Confirmed Dead in Kogi
Meanwhile, the police in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, yesterday confirmed three persons dead during the governorship election.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Akeem Busari, told journalists that the command was still compiling its report on the poll to ascertain the actual number of casualties.
Busari also said 10 persons were arrested across the state during the election.
He said it was gathered that three persons died in Lokoja when armed thugs invaded St. Luke Primary School, Adanakolo, during the election.