After Saturday’s governorship elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states, indications emerged that governors Douye Diri of Bayelsa State and Hope Uzodimma of Imo State were in early lead, as collation of results progressed.
In Bayelsa State, Diri, who is seeking re-election, is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, while Uzodimma, also seeking re-election, is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
However, in Kogi State, our correspondents who covered the election and monitored the collation of results, which was ongoing as of press time, gathered that it was a tight race between Usman Ododo of the APC and Muri Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party. The candidate of the PDP, Dino Melaye, is also a major contender in the election.
In addition to our correspondents’ findings in the states, the collation of some of the results uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing portal by Sunday PUNCH showed the early performance of the parties.
In Bayelsa State, for example, the computation of votes in 131 random polling units across some local government areas showed that PDP’s Diri already garnered 13, 396 votes, while his closest challenger, APC’s Timipre Sylva, garnered 4,802 votes.
In Imo State, the computation done by our correspondents in 90 polling units, which cuts across different local government areas, showed that APC’s Uzodinma polled 22,113 votes, while the candidate of the PDP, Samuel Anyanwu, and that of the Labour Party, Senator Athan Achonu, garnered 1,452 and 1,658 votes respectively.
In Kogi State, where the exercise is believed to be a three horse race, the calculation done by some of our correspondents across 149 polling units scattered across five local government areas showed that APC’s Adodo scored 21,047 votes, followed by SDP’s Ajaka, with 7,324 votes and PDP’s Melaye with 2,529 votes. Meanwhile, Ajaka was found to have polled massive votes in Kogi East senatorial district, where he hails from.
As of 11:03pm, the IReV portal indicated that in Bayelsa State, 85.29 per cent of the results had been uploaded, as 1,914 polling unit results had been uploaded out of the 2,242 total polling units.
For Imo State, as of 11:18pm, the portal indicated that out of the 4,758 total polling units, 4,287 polling units had been uploaded, representing 90.1 per cent.
For Kogi State, as of 11:20pm, the portal indicated that out of 3,508 polling units, 3,064 polling units had been uploaded, representing 87.34 per cent.
Violence, vote-buying mar polls
Meanwhile, the elections were marred by vote-buying, low voter turnout and pockets of violence, including killing of an individual in Imo State. There were also results of intimidation of voters and snatching of electoral materials.
One killed in Imo
The poll in Imo State was marred by vote-buying, low voter turnout, intimidation of voters and snatching of electoral materials.
A man identified simply as Chidi but popularly known as General was also shot dead on Saturday evening at Amanwozuzu in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.
An eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent, “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.
“After killing him, they took away his bag. He was shot dead by men in uniform. He was from Umuomumu Mbieri in the Mbaitoli LG of the state. His corpse has been evacuated by some policemen.”
Another source from the community confirmed the killing, saying the deceased was accused of snatching ballot papers.
In various places across the state, people were seen going about without voting. Youths were seen in several places playing football on tarred roads, while intimidation and suppression of voters were also noticed in some areas.
Electoral materials were snatched in places like Orsu, Okigwe, Ideato North and South, Oguta and were diverted to people’s homes.
Our correspondents also saw party agents buying votes. At the Owerri municipal council, for example, votes were bought for between N2,000 and N3,000. Part agents were seen paying voters N3,000 at Poling Units 007 and 008 at Adult Education Owerri Municipal.
Also at St Paul’s Primary School Polling Units in Owerri Municipal, some voters got N2,000 each after voting. At Umuodu Community Primary School in Ihihitte-Mbieri ward in the Mabitoli LG, votes were also bought for N2,000.
A Labour Party chieftain, Kingsley Madu, said voters were intimidated and that vote-buying was rife.
The deputy governorship candidate of the LP, Tony Nwulu, claimed that his party was winning with a wide margin before APC members allegedly started moving about with thugs, snatching electoral materials, suppressing voters and buying votes.
But the APC spokesperson in the state, Cajetan Duke, refuted the claim, saying his party didn’t partake in any electoral irregularity.
Also, tension was high at the Orji Town Primary School in Owerri North as vote-buying by party agents nearly marred voting at the centre, which houses units 005, 006 and 007. The exercise was peaceful but for intermittent argument between party agents who seemed hell-bent on swaying voters with cash.
One of the voters, who confirmed that he got N3,000, said he still voted for the candidate of his choice despite collecting the money. “I took their money and still voted for the candidate of my choice,” the voter stated.
Violence in Bayelsa
In Bayelsa State, the election was also marred by violence, intimidation and snatching of ballot boxes in some of the local government areas. The exercise also recorded poor turnout of voters across some polling units in Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ekeremor, Nembe, Brass, Southern Ijaw, Sagbama and Ogbia LGs.
In Southern Ijaw LG, for instance, armed thugs reportedly stormed Olodiama and Ologbobiri communities and chased away voters and electoral officers at polling units, while voting materials were also hijacked.
A similar incident also occurred at Biseni in Yenagoa, Sagbama, Nembe and Brass LGs.
Sunday PUNCH also learnt that there a clash involving the supporters of the governing PDP and the main opposition APC at Famgbe allegedly led to the death of an unidentified person while some others were injured.
Sporadic gunshots were reportedly fired as supporters of both camps attempted to control the accreditation and voting processes early in the day.
“One person was shot dead in the Famgbe community and accreditation has not started,” a resident who preferred anonymity said. “The situation is very tense here. The APC and PDP thugs started shooting to scare loyalists on opposite sides. Both sides are blaming each other for the violence that took place.”
Also, at Agorogbene in Sagbama LG, armed thugs reportedly invaded polling units in the community and snatched ballot boxes as people ran for safety.
Meanwhile, the LP and PDP in the state traded accusations of vote-buying. The governorship candidate of the LP in the state, Udengs Eradiri, alleged that his PDP counterpart, Diri, was inducing voters with money.
But in a swift reaction, the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Sinkumo Ekisah, dismissed the claim, describing it as false alarm.
Imo follows suit
There were also reports of low voter turnout in Imo State.
The PDP candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, who cast his vote at the Central Primary School in Ikeduru at about 10.40am, noted the late arrival of electoral materials, which he boasted would not affect his chances.
However, the late arrival of materials and voter apathy in Orji, Owerri North and Ikeduru and Amaimo local government areas led to late commencement of voting.
When one of our correspondents got to Unit 17, along Orji Road at about 8.35am, polling officers had yet to arrive as a few voters, who turned up to vote, waited to vote. However, by 9.30am, tables were arranged as electoral officers came in to commence their work. No police officer was also at the polling unit at the time.
Kogi not spared
In Kogi State, there was also low turnout of voters in some parts of the state. In Lokoja LG, it was observed at Polling Unit 073 opposite Kenwon Hotel that despite an expected 314 voters, there were only 65 voters when our correspondent visited.
Also, under a tree by Jane Palace Hotel, Moremi Area, a Polling Unit with 477 voters, just a few persons were seen in the queue.
One of our correspondents also gathered that there was vote-buying close to Kenwon Hotel Polling Unit 073, as money was given to some electorate after voting.
At the Federal Medical Centre junction Polling Unit 058 in Lokoja with an expected 523 voters, very few voters turned out to cast their votes. Some voters got N3,000 after casting their votes.
However, Sunday THE TRACK MAGAZINE observed that the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System functioned well in the polling units visited.
An election observer from the Christian Association of Nigeria, Stephen Ojo, commended INEC and the security agencies for the peaceful and timely conduct of the poll.
Diri, Bello win PUs
As the collation of results continued, our correspondents at the polling units of some stakeholders reported their parties’ performance in the exercise.
In Kogi State, at the polling unit of Governor Yahaya Bello, his party, the APC, won with 840 votes, while the PDP and SDP scored zero respectively.
The PDP candidate, Dino, won his polling unit at Iluafon Quarters, Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ijumu LG. He scored 210; while the APC scored 22; ADC, seven; and SDP one vote.
Ajaka, the candidate of the SDP, won his polling unit, Grade 1 Area Court, Ajaka Ward 07 in Igalamela/Odolu LG. He scored 111 votes, the APC, five votes, while PDP and ADC scored zero respectively.
In Bayelsa State, the governor and PDP candidate won in his Kalama-Owei Wari Unit 4 Ward 6, Sampou in Kolokuma/Opokuma with 218 votes, while the APC scored zero. The ADP however scored only one vote.
The votes scored by Sylva and other candidates at their polling units had yet to be confirmed as of press time.
In Imo State, the PDP candidate won his polling unit 012, Central Ama Imo, Ikeduru LG, with 122 votes, while the APC scored two votes.
Similarly, the LP candidate won his Umunumo polling unit in Ehime Mbano LG. he polled 197 votes, while APC scored 16 votes.
INEC officer freed
The kidnapped Supervisory Presiding Officer of INEC in Bayelsa State regained his freedom on Saturday. He was kidnapped on Friday at the Amassoma jetty in the Southern Ijaw LG.
A statement on Saturday by the Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Bayelsa State, Wilfred Ifogah, said the official was doing fine.
Ifogah said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission, Bayelsa State Office, is pleased to inform stakeholders and concerned citizens in Nigeria that the INEC SPO earlier abducted on the eve of the election has been freed and is doing fine.
Ifogah had in a statement on Friday announced the kidnapping of the SPO. He also announced that a boat conveying electoral officers to Registration Area 17 (Koluama) in Southern Ijaw LG capsized. “Fortunately, no life was lost as all the election personnel, numbering 12, and the boat operator were rescued,” he noted.
He pointed out that the result sheets, power banks and luggage containing personal effects of staff lost during the incident were being looked into.
Poll suspended in Kogi wards
INEC on Saturday announced the suspension of election in nine wards in the Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of Kogi State. It cited electoral malpractices, particularly the incident of result sheets completed before voting, as the reason.
This was made known in a statement signed by its National Commissioner and Member, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mohammed Haruna, on Saturday.
He stated, “The commission received reports from our officials in Kogi State on incidences of electoral malpractices, particularly the incident of result sheets completed before voting. Reports indicate that the incidents occurred in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi and Okene LGs. The most serious incidents occurred in Ogori/Magongo, affecting nine of 10 Registration Areas.
“This is entirely unacceptable. Any result not emanating from the commission’s process in the Polling Units will not be accepted. The commission is determined not to reward bad behaviour. 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 suspended.
“The incidents in the other local government areas are being thoroughly investigated, and the outcome, including the way forward, will be announced in the next 24 hours.”
He said the commission would audit personnel and materials to ascertain those who might have been complicit in undermining the process. “We have a record of all officials deployed at various levels as supervisors, monitors, technical staff or polling unit officials and all election materials issued to them. Appropriate sanctions will be applied where necessary,” he added.
Sylva, LP candidate kick
The APC candidate in Bayelsa State, while fielding questions from journalists shortly after casting his vote at his Polling Unit 4, Ward 4, blamed INEC for the non-upload of the register, which he described as “a careless mistake”.
He said his camp reported the problem to the national leadership of INEC. He however commended the commission for improving on the conduct of the polls, adding that there was room for improvement.
He added, “In some cases, it is believed by our people that we are running election, not against PDP but against security. But at the end of the day, we will come out victorious.
“I have been told that in Yenagoa there has been a lot of violence. In fact, this morning, I woke up with a story that one of my party members was shot. By afternoon, we had situations where the army, especially in Bayelsa State, had taken over some areas. For INEC, I will say there has been a lot of improvement.
“But I was very shocked that the careless mistake only happened in my ward particularly, and the targeted units were very big units that have large numbers of voters. “
Also, the LP candidate in the state faulted the conduct of the poll, saying it was fraught with irregularities, like selling and buying of votes. He also claimed that the identities of LP polling agents were changed by INEC prior to election day.
Speaking with reporters after casting his vote in his Agudama-Ekpetiama community, Yenagoa LG, Eradiri said, “Unfortunately, vote-buying was the order of the day, and the people were encouraging it and being bought.
“Behind the scenes, you see the buying and selling of votes going on; as you vote you collect your tallies. You can see people are showing their votes to confirm. So, people don’t care about what you do. All they are after is money.”
“I am disappointed, not only in the process but also in the people, because I thought that the people understood now and that everybody has seen the nakedness of poverty, neglect and incompetence of leadership, hoping that will define the voting pattern, but I was fooled.”