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Collation officers caught napping in Kogi, Plateau apologise

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(Photo by CRISTINA ALDEHUELA / AFP)

There was a mild drama on Sunday as the collation officer for Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State, Dr. Folorunsho, presented a different figure that removed 8,000 votes from Senator Dino Melaye’s winning votes in the Kogi West Senatorial election. Folunrunsho was forced to eat the humble pie as he started pleading for forgiveness from the agents and observers at the local government INEC collation centre.

The Kogi West Senatorial District election, which has become supremacy battle between the incumbent Senator Dino Melaye and two-term Senator Smart Adeyemi over the last four years, saw Senator Melaye reenacting his winning streak for the umpteenth time. Melaye in 2015 defeated Smart Adeyemi with about 2,000 votes, but in 2019 the winning margin got wider with about 17,326 votes.

Folorunsho had started reeling out scores from each of the 10 wards in the local government area and announced a figure as total votes scored by the party different from that of the party’s agent at the collation centre. After the announcement of the total, the party’s agent, former vice chairman of Lokoja Local government on the platform of PDP, noticed that there was a discrepancy of 8,000 in the figure announced as total votes scored by his party.

At this point, he raised a point of observation which forced the returning officer to halt his announcement while the figures were tabulated only to discover that 8,000 votes have been slashed from PDP’s votes. After agreement by everyone in the collation centre, the figure was adjusted to reflect the true figure.

Similar discrepancy was noticed by the agent when 300 votes were added to that of All progressive Congress in the same ward. The returning officer, Folorunsho also admitted making a mistake and adjusted the figure to reflect the new total.

While speaking after the figures had been adjusted, Folorunsho said it was a mistake which no one was immune and asked for understanding of everyone present at the collation centre. He explained that lack of proper and enough sleep might have contributed to the error and promised never to allow such error again.

In a related development, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a mild drama unfolded in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau on Sunday when the Collation Officer, Prof. Musa Izam of University of Jos, attempted to escape declaring results for Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections in the area. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the professor of physics was in the midst of results collation when he took excuse from party agents, INEC officials and observers to go and ease himself.

But the Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bokkos Local Government Area, Mr. Michael Abi, told NAN that little did they know collation of results from the 12 wards of the council had been concluded and waiting to be announced when the professor excused himself.

“We, however, smelt a rat and asked some people to monitor him,” he said. “And true to our fears and suspicion, the man ran into a waiting vehicle nearby and zoomed off. In fact, we had to chase after them as the vehicle sped towards Barikin Ladi Local Government Area en route to Jos and caught up with them around Maikatako near Kuba village in Bokkos.

“Guess who took him away in that car? One of the Special Assistants to Governor Simon Lalong on Security Matters, whose name I won’t want to mention to the press. We brought them back to the collation centre only for the professor of physics to start apologising to everybody in the hall over his actions.”

Former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Jonathan Mawuyau, also apologised on behalf of the don, asking that he should be allowed to continue with compilation of the results for final announcement of winners of the elections in the area.

“We could not believe our eyes when we saw such a strange attitude from a learned and a whole professor of physics who works with a reputable institution like the University of Jos,’’ Rep. Solomon Maren lamented over the development. “In fact, it is like a film that we used to watch. Well, the good thing is that he is back and I think we are ready to conclude the compilation and for the result to be announced to us.

“Nevertheless, all eyes were on the collation officer for him to do the needful without springing another surprise on the results collation and announcement of winner of polls.’


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