Uzodimma and Diri take an early lead in the governors’ polls, while Ododo and Ajaka battle it out for Kogi.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee November 12, 2023
Updated 2023/11/12 at 9:10 PM

Following the governorship elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states on Saturday, early indications suggest that Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Hope Uzodimma of Imo State are in the lead as the collation of results continues. Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, is seeking re-election in Bayelsa State, while Uzodimma, also seeking re-election, is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

Meanwhile, in Kogi State, the race is tight between Usman Ododo of the APC, Muri Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party, and Dino Melaye of the PDP, with the collation of results still ongoing at the time of press. Additionally, some results uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing portal by Sunday PUNCH indicate the early performance of the parties.

For instance, in Bayelsa State, the votes in 131 randomly selected polling units in various local government areas indicated that the PDP’s Diri had already received 13,396 votes, while the APC’s Timipre Sylva had gained 4,802 votes, making Diri the leading candidate.

In Imo State, our correspondents calculated the results from 90 polling units in different local government areas. As a result, the APC’s Uzodinma secured 22,113 votes, whereas the PDP’s Samuel Anyanwu and the Labour Party’s Senator Athan Achonu received 1,452 and 1,658 votes respectively.

In Kogi State, where the competition is believed to involve three major candidates, our correspondents conducted calculations based on 149 polling units across five local government areas. The results showed that the APC’s Adodo obtained 21,047 votes, followed by the SDP’s Ajaka with 7,324 votes, and the PDP’s Melaye with 2,529 votes. Notably, Ajaka received a substantial amount of votes in Kogi East senatorial district, where he originates from.

At 11:03pm, the IReV portal showed that in Bayelsa State, 85.29% of the results had been uploaded, with a total of 1,914 polling unit results out of 2,242 polling units.

As for Imo State, as of 11:18pm, the portal indicated that 90.1% of the total 4,758 polling units had been uploaded, accounting for 4,287 polling units.

In Kogi State, as of 11:20pm, the portal indicated that 87.34% of the 3,508 polling units had been uploaded, amounting to 3,064 polling units.

The elections faced challenges, marked by instances of vote-buying, low voter participation, and isolated violence, notably a fatal incident in Imo State. Reports revealed voter intimidation and the seizure of electoral materials.

Fatal Incident in Imo State

The elections in Imo State were characterized by vote-buying, limited voter presence, voter intimidation, and the confiscation of electoral materials. Tragically, an individual known as Chidi, commonly referred to as General, was fatally shot on Saturday evening in Amanwozuzu, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.

An eyewitness, who chose to remain anonymous, disclosed, “A man identified as Chidi, known as General, was fatally shot this Saturday evening in the Amanwozuzu area of Iho in the Ikeduru LG.”

“After the fatal shooting, his bag was taken by the assailants, who were dressed in uniform. The victim hailed from Umuomumu Mbieri in the Mbaitoli Local Government of the state. Law enforcement officers have since removed his lifeless body from the scene.

Another source within the community confirmed the incident, revealing that the deceased had been accused of ballot paper snatching.

Throughout the state, various areas witnessed citizens abstaining from voting, with young people playing football on paved streets in some localities. Reports also emerged of voter intimidation and suppression in select regions.

Incidents of electoral material theft occurred in places like Orsu, Okigwe, Ideato North and South, Oguta, with the materials being diverted to individuals’ residences.

Our correspondents also observed instances of party agents buying votes. In Owerri municipal council, for example, votes were purchased for sums ranging from N2,000 to N3,000. Party agents were seen disbursing N3,000 to voters at Polling Units 007 and 008 at Adult Education Owerri Municipal.

Additionally, at St. Paul’s Primary School Polling Units in Owerri Municipal, certain voters received N2,000 each after casting their ballots. At Umuodu Community Primary School in Ihihitte-Mbieri ward, Mabitoli LG, votes were also exchanged for N2,000.

Kingsley Madu, a member of the Labour Party, reported voter intimidation and widespread vote-buying. The deputy governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Tony Nwulu, claimed that his party was leading by a significant margin before alleged actions by APC members, including the mobilization of thugs, ballot material theft, voter suppression, and vote-buying.

However, the APC spokesperson in the state, Cajetan Duke, refuted these claims, asserting that his party did not engage in any electoral irregularities.

Tensions also ran high at the Orji Town Primary School in Owerri North, where party agents’ vote-buying efforts nearly disrupted the voting process in units 005, 006, and 007. Although the exercise remained peaceful, occasional disputes erupted among party agents determined to influence voters with cash.

One voter admitted receiving N3,000 from party agents but affirmed that he voted for his preferred candidate despite accepting the money.

Violence in Bayelsa

In Bayelsa State, the election also saw incidents of violence, intimidation, and ballot box theft in some local government areas. Additionally, there was a low voter turnout in polling units across Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ekeremor, Nembe, Brass, Southern Ijaw, Sagbama, and Ogbia LGs.

For instance, in Southern Ijaw LG, armed thugs reportedly disrupted polling units in Olodiama and Ologbobiri communities, forcing voters and electoral officials to flee while making off with voting materials. Similar incidents occurred in Biseni in Yenagoa, Sagbama, Nembe, and Brass LGs.

Sunday PUNCH also learned of a clash between supporters of the ruling PDP and the main opposition APC at Famgbe, which allegedly resulted in an unidentified person’s death and several injuries. Supporters from both sides fired sporadic gunshots as they vied for control during the accreditation and voting processes early in the day.

“A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said, ‘One person was shot dead in the Famgbe community, and accreditation has not started. The situation is very tense here, with both APC and PDP supporters blaming each other for the violence.'”

In the meantime, the LP and PDP in the state exchanged allegations of engaging in vote-buying. The governorship candidate of the LP in the state, Udengs Eradiri, accused his PDP counterpart, Diri, of attempting to influence voters with monetary incentives.

However, in a swift response, the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Sinkumo Ekisah, refuted the accusation, labeling it as a false alarm.

Imo State Follows Suit

Reports of a low voter turnout also emerged in Imo State. The PDP candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, cast his vote at the Central Primary School in Ikeduru around 10.40 am. He acknowledged the delayed arrival of electoral materials but expressed confidence that it would not impact his chances.

Nonetheless, the tardy arrival of materials and voter apathy in Orji, Owerri North, Ikeduru, and Amaimo local government areas led to a delayed start of the voting process.

At approximately 8.35 am, one of our correspondents arrived at Unit 17 along Orji Road, where polling officers were yet to arrive. A small group of voters who had come to cast their votes waited patiently. By 9.30 am, the electoral officers set up their tables and began their work. Notably, there were no police officers present at the polling unit at that time.

Kogi State Faces Low Turnout

Kogi State also witnessed a low voter turnout in certain areas. At Polling Unit 073, opposite Kenwon Hotel in Lokoja LG, only 65 out of the expected 314 voters were present when our correspondent visited.

Similarly, at a Polling Unit near Jane Palace Hotel in the Moremi Area, where 477 voters were expected, only a few individuals were seen in the queue.

Our correspondents also received reports of vote-buying near Kenwon Hotel Polling Unit 073, as some voters were given money after casting their votes.

However, it’s worth noting that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System functioned effectively in the visited polling units.

Stephen Ojo, an election observer from the Christian Association of Nigeria, commended INEC and the security agencies for the peaceful and punctual conduct of the election.

Diri and Bello Secure Polling Units

As the collation of results continued, our correspondents at the polling units of some key figures reported the performance of their parties in the exercise.

In Kogi State, at Governor Yahaya Bello’s polling unit, the APC secured victory with 840 votes, while the PDP and SDP received zero votes.

Dino, the PDP candidate, emerged victorious at his polling unit in Iluafon Quarters, Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ijumu LG, with 210 votes. The APC received 22 votes, ADC seven, and SDP one vote.

Ajaka, the SDP candidate, won at his polling unit, Grade 1 Area Court, Ajaka Ward 07 in Igalamela/Odolu LG, with 111 votes. The APC received five votes, while the PDP and ADC got zero votes.

In Bayelsa State, the governor and PDP candidate secured victory in his Kalama-Owei Wari Unit 4, Ward 6, Sampou in Kolokuma/Opokuma, with 218 votes, while the APC received zero votes. The ADP, on the other hand, received just one vote.

The votes received by Sylva and other candidates at their respective polling units had not been confirmed as of the time of this report.

Imo State Results

In Imo State, the PDP candidate won at his polling unit 012 in Central Ama Imo, Ikeduru LG, with 122 votes, while the APC received two votes.

Similarly, the LP candidate secured victory at his Umunumo polling unit in Ehime Mbano LG, garnering 197 votes, while the APC received 16 votes.

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