The keenly-contested November 11, 2023 Kogi State Governorship Election has finally produced a winner with the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Usman Ododo, clinching the much-coveted seat.
The State Returning Officer, Prof Johnson Urama, who is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, announced Ododo as the winner at 10:23pm on Sunday.
“Ahmed Usman Ododo of APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” Urama declared in a room crowded with party agents and election observers.
Ododo won with 446,237 votes, defeating his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who scored 259,052, while Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 46,362 votes.
Results from the 21 local government areas (LGAs) in the state were collated late Sunday with the APC candidate sweeping over half of the LGAs.
Ododo, an ex-Auditor General of Local Government in Kogi under Governor Yahaya Bello, was the anointed candidate of the governor who is ending his double terms of eight years.
Melaye and some civil rights groups had on Saturday, raised the alarm over “filled result sheets” in the Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of the North Central state.
The PDP candidate also called for the suspension of the exercise over violence and vote buying. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) subsequently suspended election in nine wards in the local government area.
Late Sunday, INEC said fresh polls will be conducted in 59 polling units in the Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of the state on November 18, 2023.
INEC, however, introduced a condition for the polls to be held in the 59 polling units, saying that “the decision to hold fresh elections is subject to the Returning Officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle”.
In his declaration late Sunday, Urama said the total number of Permanent Voter Cards in the affected polling units was put at 16,247, one that was insignificant to the about 200,000 votes gathered by the APC candidate ahead of his closest rival – Ajaka.
The margin of lead implied that the elections initially scheduled by INEC for next Saturday in the 59 polling units would no longer be held.
Both Ajaka and Melaye have rejected the outcome of the poll, expressing disappointment in INEC and security agencies which they accused of collusion with the ruling APC in Kogi. (Channels)