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INEC declares Makinde, Eno, Abiodun, Abdulrazaq winners

By Muyiwa Adeyemi (Lagos), Matthew Ogune, Sodiq Omolaoye, Ameh Ochojila, (Abuja), Mohammed Abubakar, Dahiru Suleiman (Dutse), Seye Olumide, Rotimi Agboluaje, Moyosore Salami (Ibadan), Ayoyinka Jegede (Uyo) and Gbenga Akinfenwa (Abeokuta)
20 March 2023   |   4:34 am
Amid irregularities, intimidation, voter suppression and violence that tainted the credibility of the governorship and state Assembly elections held at the weekend, the Independent National Electoral Commission...

Wife of Oyo State Governor, Tamunominini Makinde (left); Governor Seyi Makinde; Senator Monsurat Sunmonu and others, during the declaration of the governor as winner of the governorship election for a second term by the Independent National Electoral Commission in Ibadan… yesterday.

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Amid irregularities, intimidation, voter suppression and violence that tainted the credibility of the governorship and state Assembly elections held at the weekend, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared some candidates winners of the exercise. Gruesome killings of party leaders, attacks by hoodlums and disenfranchisement of voters in many states resulted in low turnout of voters.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHR), Tony Ojukwu (SAN) attributed the low turnout to intimidation. Ojukwu said that during the commission’s monitoring of the elections, there were instances of hate speeches, assaults, and extrajudicial killings.
He said: “Our monitors reported incidents of violence, including cases of assault, vandalism, destruction of election materials and polling units in 16 per cent of the polling units monitored.

“There were reports from Rivers State of hoodlums attacking the INEC officials and stealing the BVAS device and election materials. There were also reported cases of abduction of INEC officials in Isu Local Council of Imo state and attack on INEC officials in Odoakpu Ward 7, Onitsha in Anambra State.”

He promised that the alleged cases of hate speech by the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and MC Oluomo during the elections would not be swept under the carpet as the Commission is set to extend invitations to them for interrogation.

GOVERNOR Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner of the 2023 governorship election in Oyo State with total vote of 563,756 to defeat his major rival and candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Teslim Folarin, who polled 256,685.

Accord Party candidate, Adebayo Adelabu, who came a distant third in the contest, polled 38,357. Makinde won convincingly in 31 out of the 33 local councils, while Folarin won two. Declaring the results at the INEC office in Ibadan, yesterday, the state Returning Officer, Prof. Adebayo Bamire, said Makinde, having satisfied all the necessary requirements, is declared winner of the contest.

“On behalf of the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, I want to declare the results of the 2023 governorship in Oyo state. I Prof Adebayo Simeon Bamire hereby certified that I am the returning officer for the 2023 0yo State governorship elections held on March 18, 2023, that the election was contested and the candidates received the following votes.

“Adelabu Adebayo of Accord Party had total number of 38,357 votes, Folarin Kolawole Teslim, a total number of 256,685 votes, Akinwale Tawiq Tayo of Labour Party had 1,500 votes and Makinde Oluseyi Abiodun of PDP 563,756.

“Makinde has satisfied the requirements of the law. I hereby declared him the winner and returned,” he declared.

THE governorship candidate of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno won the election by polling 354,348 votes, defeating Young Peoples Party (YPP) candidate, Senator Albert Bassey, who polled 136,262. APC candidate, Obong Akanimo Udofia came third with 129,602 votes, while LP candidate scored 4,746.

Declaring the winner, the Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of Nigeria Maritime University, Delta State, Prof. Emmanuel Munakurogha Adigio on Sunday afternoon said total votes cast was 656,422, putting valid votes at 644,080 and 12,342 votes were rejected.

IN Ogun State, the candidate of the APC, Prince Dapo Abiodun was successful in his re-election bid as he was declared winner scoring 276,298 votes, against his closest rival, Adebukola Adebutu of the PDP who polled 262,383. African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate, Biyi Otegbeye came a distant third with 94,754 votes. 
The state Returning Officer, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale said Abiodun “fulfilled all requirements, having scored the highest votes. He is hereby declared winner.” 

Abiodun won in 12 councils, while PDP won in eight. ADC failed to clinch any.  Abiodun, who is returning for his second term in office won in Odeda, Yewa North, Yewa South, Ewekoro, Ijebu North, Ijebu Ode, Abeokuta North, Ipokia, Imeko Afon, Ado-Odo/Ota, Obafemi Owode and Ifo local councils.
Adebutu won in Abeokuta South, Ikenne, Ijebu North East, Ijebu East, Remo North, Ogun Waterside, Odogbolu and Sagamu.   A slight argument however, ensued during the collation exercise, when the PDP State Collation Officer, Sunkanmi Oyejide, alleged that some of the areas where elections were cancelled were strongholds of his party. His APC counterpart, Yemi Adelani, who dismissed the claim of strongholds, countered his position. 
This later turned to a mild drama as the PDP agent drew the attention of the REC to the fact that APC had more than one Collation Officer at the centre. This led to a temporary stoppage of the process until the identified collation agent left the hall. 
In his response, Prof. Adebowale informed the PDP agent that INEC doesn’t recognise strongholds, but follows the rules and guidelines guiding electoral process. 
However, the PDP has expressed dissatisfaction with the result. In a statement signed by the media aide to the deputy governorship candidate, Azeez Adelani, titled: “Ogun electorate shall hold you responsible,” Akinlade on behalf of his principal, called on all men of good faith in Ogun State to rise up to defend Nigeria’s democracy by calling to order, officials of INEC not to allow themselves to be used to rob Ogun electorate of their well earned victory by trying to upturn the incontrovertible evidence that PDP won the March 18 elections. 
“That it is a known fact that the announcement of results from Sagamu and other local councils were delayed to enable them ‘perfect’ their attempt to reduce the obvious numbers of Polling Units (PU) where elections were cancelled by way of doctoring result sheets and other evidences. 
“That 80 PUs elections were either cancelled as a result of BVAS malfunction or violence by APC hired thugs and hoodlums who shot, burnt, and destroyed election materials across Sagamu, Odogbolu and other areas across the state.
“According to Section 24 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended, with over 34,000 electorate disenfranchised as a result of those cancellations, INEC ought to declare the March 18th election inconclusive and order re-run in all the areas voting did not occur.” He called on residents and electorate to identify and hold the officials involved in the “attempted electoral robbery” personally responsible for denying them their rights as entrenched in the Constitution. Akinlade said the PDP would resist any attempt or attempts to rig the elections in favour of the APC. Notwithstanding, INEC still declared Abiodun the winner.

IN Jigawa State, APC candidate, Malam Umar Namadi, was declared the winner of the governorship election. Namadi, who is the incumbent deputy governor, defeated Mustapha Sule Lamido of the PDP and Malam Aminu Ibrahim Ringim of the NNPP. Namadi won in 26 out of the 27 local government areas in the state, while his closest challenger, Mustapha, who is the son of the immediate past governor of the state, Sule Lamido, won one. Ringim did not win any local government.

Declaring the results, yesterday, the state Returning Officer, Prof. Muhammad Zaiyan Umar said Namadi polled a total of 618 449 votes to Lamido’s 368, 726 and Ringim’s 37, 256 votes.

According to Prof. Umar, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, the number of registered voters for the state stood at 2,351, 298; accredited voters stood at 1, 073 540.

The number of valid votes cast remained at 1, 032, 567; total votes cast stood at 1, 032, 793 while 20, 226 votes were rejected. Shortly before the final declaration, the PDP agent at the collation centre, Malam Wada Adamu Abubakar contested the results from five of the local councils, including Birnin Kudu, Dutse, Yankwashi, Kazaure and Gwaram on the ground of alleged malpractice.

Abubakar, who is the Dokaji of Dutse had called for the affected councils to be declared inconclusive, citing large scale violence orchestrated to deny PDP victory in their strongholds. His submission forced the exercise to go on one-hour break to enable them resolve the issue, but when the collation resumed at about 5:45 pm, the declaration went ahead as planned. INEC also declared Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State as the winner of the election in the state.

The INEC Returning Officer, Prof. Maimuna Waziri, the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University, Gashua, Yobe, who made the declaration, said that Yahaya of APC scored 342, 821 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mr. Jibrin Barde of the PDP, who polled 233, 131 votes. She said that Khamisu Mailantarki of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) polled 19,861 votes, while Keftin Amuga of Labour Party (LP) polled 1,753.
Waziri said that the number of registered voters was 1,575,794, while 618,231 voters were accredited, adding that the number of valid votes was 605,355, while 11,390 votes were rejected and 616,745 total votes cast. Yahaya won in nine out of the 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

GOVERNOR Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has been declared winner of the Saturday’s governorship election. Abdulrazaq won the election to serve a second term of another four years in office on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

INEC’s Returning Officer, Prof. Isaac Itodo, who is also the Vice-Chancellor, University of Markurdi, said Abdulrazaq won in all the 16 local government areas of the state.

According to him, AbdulRazaq polled the highest votes of 273, 242, defeating his closet rival, Shuaib Yaman of the PDP, who scored 155, 490, while Akeem Lawal of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), came third with 18,922

DISSATISFIED with the conduct of the electoral body in handling the polls, over 70 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the auspices of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room has called for an independent inquiry into the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

Situation room Convener, Ene Obi, who made this call, yesterday in Abuja, insisted that the independent inquiry must address amongst other issues, procurement, logistics management, and abuse of electoral process by the INEC and security officials.

According to Obi, the step is urgently needed to identify challenges and make recommendations towards repairing the damaged credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.

Obi said it was imperative to undertake a national debate to address all the critical challenges that still confront the nation’s electoral process, maintaining that the process will, without doubt enthrone more transparency and help to build peoples’ confidence in the democratic process.

Presenting the body’s interim report on the conduct of the election, she said situation room observers reported that voting did not hold in some polling units in Benue, Zamfara, Kogi, and Rivers states, adding that there were reports of late commencement of polls in a number of places, especially in Rivers and Lagos states.

“Furthermore, there were reports of no or insufficient supply of election materials in Gombe, Oyo, Abia, Borno, Delta, Yobe and Nasarawa states.

“For instance, in PU 022, Aluci Gincla Ward, Nasarawa Eggon local council of Nasarawa State, Situation Room observers reported that the governorship election result sheets produced were a photocopy, while original result sheets were provided for only the state Houses of Assembly election.

“In PU 060, Abuloma/Amadiama Ward 20, in Port Harcourt local council of Rivers State, commencement of voting was delayed because as at 10:17 am, BVAS had not been reconfigured as it still had presidential election data.

“With regards to compliance with the electoral laws and procedures, the Situation Room observers note that assistive devices such as Braille ballot guide for the blind, were provided only in 7.1 per cent of the polling units visited. The observers also reported that in PU 041 Open Space by Magistrate Court, Ganaja Village, Ajaokuta local council in Kogi State, temporary voter’s cards were used for accreditation in breach of the electoral law.”

On election security, she noted that despite the presence of security personnel in 91 per cent of the polling units visited, the security officials did not live up to expectations, as there were reports that security agents were compromised in some places. She said: “Situation Room notes with profound concern that several incidents of election related violence were observed in many parts of the country.

“We note that there is a persistent problem of election violence in Rivers State. However, the incidents of violence in Lagos State appeared to have surpassed its existing threshold.

“For instance, in Bishop Oluwole memorial primary school, Ward 005, Ifako Ijaiye LGA of Lagos State, voting ended at 2:30 p.m. but fight broke out between the INEC officials and party agents during the counting of votes owing to a voided ballot paper. In PU 069, Amuwo Odofin local council of Lagos State, thugs attacked voters and vandalised vehicles, prevented people from voting, fighting, and inciting violence.

“In addition, two Situation Room observers were harassed and obstructed from carrying out their duties in Enugu North and Igboeze North local councils in Enugu State.

“AIT reporters and cameraman were molested and prevented from covering the elections at some polling units in Eti-Osa, Ifako-Ijaiye and Amuwo Odofin local councils by political thugs and hoodlums. An ARISE TV crew was attacked while covering the election in Elegushi area of Lagos. A cameraman suffered facial injuries, while camera drones and other equipment were seized.

“In Ogun State, a reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was among journalists molested in Itori Odo Area of Abeokuta South local council, where they faced mob attack by political thugs who equally reportedly assaulted INEC officials with axes and allegedly destroyed ballot boxes.

“Situation Room further notes that in Rivers, Lagos and Edo states there were reports that voters were denied access to polling units by political thugs. In PU 012, Nonwa Ward 7 in Tai local council of Rivers State, thugs destroyed materials and beat up election officials.

“The Situation Room also received a disturbing report that 19 INEC ad-hoc staff, who were on their way to seven different polling units in Ugbelie Ward 06 in Ideato South local council of Imo State were abducted by unknown persons.

“There were reports of attack on voting centres in an IDP camp in Uhogwa, Ovia North East local council of Edo State by armed hoodlums.
“During the attack, one person was severely injured, an INEC ad hoc staff was forced to take refuge in a nearby house, while voting materials were carted away. In addition, there were reports of voter intimidation, disruption of voting and destruction of election materials in polling units visited in Enugu, Imo, Sokoto, Delta, Niger, Gombe, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom and Ogun States.”

According to the group, the principal actors and propagators of these acts of election violence are well known but have operated in an environment of absolute impunity for years. It, therefore, called on government to urgently address this persistent issue of election violence.

ALSO, an election observer group, Connected Development (CODE), has said the security agencies, especially the Police in the breakout of violence were unhelpful, in addition to voter suppression in many polling units during Saturday’s gubernatorial and state Assembly elections.

The group alleged that some security personnel deliberately undermined the election and gave advantage to certain political interests. Executive Officer of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, while reading the organisation’s preliminary report on the elections in Abuja, yesterday, lamented that the response of the security agencies, especially the police, which is the lead security on election, to violence and intimidation alerts during the exercise was nothing to write home about. 

While commending INEC for early deployment of materials and opening of polls, Lawal said there were concerns about the conduct of elections in some polling stations.