The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has emerged the winner of the governorship election held on Saturday.
Lyon, who won in six of the state’s eight local government areas, defeated his closest rival, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Diri won in two local governments.
Lyon’s victory marks the first time the PDP would lose a governorship election in the state since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.
The Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, had after he released the result of the Ekeremor Local Government Area, which was the last being expected by INEC on Monday night, promised that the final result would be made public before 1am on Monday.
Orumwense made good his promise as he announced that Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Diri, who polled 143,172 votes some minutes after 1am.
Lyon was declared winner in six out of the eight local governments announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre in the state commission’s headquarters in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The six local government areas won by the APC are Brass; Nembe; Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor and Yenagoa while the PDP won in the Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas.
In the Sagbama LGA, Bayelsa East Senatorial District, the APC polled 7, 831 votes while the PDP scored 60,339 votes.
The result from Nembe LGA, Bayelsa East showed that the APC garnered 83,041 votes while the PDP polled 874 votes.
In the Kolouma/Opokuma LGA, Bayelsa Central, the APC scored 8,934 votes while the PDP scored 15,360 votes. In the Brass LGA, Bayelsa East, the APC got 23,831 votes while the PDP polled 10,410 votes.
The APC scored 24,607 votes in Yenagoa LGA in Bayelsa Central, while the PDP got 19,184 votes.
In the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa East, the APC defeated the PDP candidate by garnering 58,016 votes while Diri polled 13,763 votes.
In Southern Ijaw Local Government, the APC candidate polled 124,803 votes while his rival got 4,898 votes.
Lyon also defeated Diri in Ekeremor LGA by polling 21,489 to the PDP’s candidate’s 18,344 votes.
But while Lyon and the Bayelsa APC were already celebrating, the Kogi State APC and its governorship candidate, Governor Yahaya Bello, would have to wait till after 10am today for the final result.
This is because INEC postponed the announcement of the results of governorship elections to Monday.
The Returning Officer for the Kogi State governorship election, Prof. Ibrahim Umar, said the postponement was necessary because INEC was still expecting results from Ibaji and Lokoja LGAs while that of Dekina needed clarifications.
But before the postponement, the electoral umpire had declared results of 18 out of the 21 local government areas.
Out of the 18 LGAs results, Bello won in 10 while his closest rival, Musa Wada of the PDP, won in eight LGAs.
With the results released by INEC, Bello who is the candidate of the APC in the Saturday governorship poll in the state, had polled 365,135 votes while Wada had 151,566 votes.
Bello won in the Ogori/Magongo, Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu, Adavi, Okene, Okehi, Mopa Moro, Olamaboro, Kogi, and Ajaokuta local government areas.
Bello polled massive votes in his stronghold, the Okene Local Government Area of Kogi Central Senatorial District, polling 112,764 votes against Wada’s paltry 139 votes in the area.
The governor also scored 64,657 votes in the Adavi Local Government Area of the Kogi Central Senatorial District against Wada’s 366 votes.
In the Ogori/Magogo LGA, Bello also won with 3,679 votes while Wada had 2,145 votes.
The governor also triumphed in the Ijumu LGA of the Kogi West. He scored 11,425 votes against Wada’s 7,587 votes.
In the Omala LGA, where the recently sworn-in deputy governor of the state, Edward Onoja, comes from, the governor lost to the PDP candidate, scoring 8,473 votes while Wada scored 14,403 votes.
In the Kabba/Bunu LGA where the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, hails from, Bello won with 15,364 votes defeating Wada who polled 8,084 votes.
The governor also won in the Okehi LGA, where the candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the election, Natasha Akpoti, hails from. The governor scored 36,954 votes,Wada polled 478 votes, while Akpoti scored 3,095 votes.
In Yagba East, Wada won with 7,546 votes against Bello’s 6,735.
In the Yagba West, where the Secretary to the State Government, Folasade Ayoade, comes from, the PDP won with 8,860 as against Bello’s 7,868 votes.
Results in the Mopa Moro LGA, where Bello’s Director-General on Media and Strategy, Kingsley Fanwo, comes from, was also close with Bello scoring 4,602 votes against Wada’s 3,581.
But in Idah, Wada polled 13,962 votes against Bello’s 4,602. In Ajaokuta, the APC scored 17,952 votes with the PDP scoring 5,565 votes. The PDP also lost in the Korto LGA. Its candidate scored 9,404 against Bello’s 14,097.
But in the Olamaboro LGA, Bello garnered 16,876 votes to defeat Wada, who polled 8,155 votes.
It’s daylight robbery, I’ll challenge it – Wada
Wada rejected the results, describing the election outcome as fictitious and false.
He spoke at a media briefing in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, while INEC was still announcing the results.
Wada said he won the election and described the result from the Okene Local Government Area, where INEC said the APC polled 112,764 against PDP’s 139 votes as fictitious.
The PDP candidate said the results as announced by INEC represented a dark day in the history of democracy in Nigeria.
He also alleged that the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, who is the candidate of the APC, used state apparatus to compromise the outcome of the election.
Wada said, “The result shows mere daylight robbery. My party and I have rejected this result in its entirety. I think if the election is this way, the government of the nation should not have allowed people to participate in an election from the primary process to the real general election.
“As I speak, results were being written all over the collation centres. I think they just allowed people to come out just to tell the world that elections were holding. To me, it was just mere formality to rob the people. As I speak, the wish of the people of Kogi State is not what is prevailing in the so-called collation going on.
“A situation in which the Commissioner of Police in Kogi State would have to go to the collation centre in Dekina, my own LGA, to stay in the collation centre from 11pm till this morning, his mission was not known. He was going into the collation centre and coming out with his car. I think his mission was not unknown, of course he was there to do the wishes of the power that be.”
Wada said he would contest the result before the election petitions tribunal, adding that he was hopeful that the tribunal would upturn Bello’s victory as announced by INEC.
He said, “This result is rejected in its entirety. We will consult our lawyers and party and the next line of action will be taking immediately. If Nigeria’s election is allowed to go this way, I think they should not be calling for elections in any part of this country. Look at the case of Okene, a place with 40,000 accredited voters, he got 112,000 votes (for the APC). Okene to me does not have the size of the Ankpa LGA for example.
“A lot of questions are going to be answered at the tribunal because at that time and we are getting set to ensure that justice is done to the masses of Kogi State who gave me their votes.
“I won this election clearly, free and clear. Just imagine the forged votes of Okene, Adaki and Okehi. They rigged the election with the votes of this central district. It is not about me. It is about the suffering masses of Kogi State. It is another four years of bad governance and injustice.”
SDP candidate calls for cancellation
Also, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Mrs Natasha Akpoti, has rejected the result of the election.
Akpoti, in a petition to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, called on the electoral body to cancel the election in Kogi Central Senatorial District and some other parts of Lokoja.
She said, “The APC thugs were shooting at voters which resulted in the death of voters. The thugs in most cases were shielded by security agents who are supposed to provide security for the citizenry.
“What happened in Kogi Central and other part of the state was a far-cry from a credible election. Ballot boxes were destroyed and burnt in the Okene, Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo and Okehi local government areas and other parts of the state.
“The SDP agents were chased away from the various polling units of the Kogi Central Senatorial District. In some polling units, the SDP agents were tied with ropes by the APC thugs in Okene Local Government Area, our agents were not even allowed to come near the polling units as the APC thugs were seen brandishing guns and announcing to voters not to come and vote unless they were going to vote the APC.”
She alleged further that in some polling units, there were no result sheets, 2015 stamped ballot papers were used in the conduct of the election and in most cases, SDP was written with pencil on the result sheets.
Akpoti added, “Ballot papers already marked by voters in favour of the SDP already tucked into the ballot boxes were sorted out by the APC led thugs and burnt.
“The election as it is now cannot pass the test of fairness and credibility. Whatever gains INEC seems to have achieved in the conduct of election in the past will be completely eroded if the election in Kogi Central Senatorial District and some other parts of Kogi State is allowed to stand.”
Forces of darkness failed – APC
However, the APC on Sunday appealed for calm as the collation of the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states progressed.
The party also hailed security agencies for their conduct, saying it was aware that hoodlums were brought into Kogi State from Osun and Oyo states by the PDP few days to the elections.
The APC in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said it was delighted that the forces of darkness had failed.
The statement read, “The subterfuge deployed by the PDP to rig the elections in both states, including the Kogi West senatorial rerun election was thwarted.
“In Kogi and Bayelsa states, we were certain of securing the majority votes for the two governorship seats and the Kogi West senatorial seat. For this, we knew we must ensure a peaceful atmosphere for voters to freely turn out and exercise their franchise.
“As expected, not being in the tradition of the PDP to thrive under orderly and credible electoral process, they did their best to discredit the process. We are glad that the voting processes came to a successful end in Kogi and Bayelsa states.”
“The PDP did not achieve its objective of winning through violence. We note the effort by the PDP to employ their usual manipulation through ballot box snatching, massive thumbprinting of ballot papers and vote buying.”
Nigerians’ hope in democracy, destroyed – PDP
The PDP, on its part, said the conduct and outcome of the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states had destroyed the hope Nigerians had in democratic practice.
The party stated that Nigerians and the entire world watched in horror as the APC-led government trampled the nation’s democracy.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement also said citizens agonised as the APC-controlled security forces allegedly aided armed hoodlums to invade polling centres, shoot and kill innocent citizens.
He said, “It is distressing that under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, votes no longer count. Power and governance no longer derive from the people but from violence, manipulations and the barrel of gun. Nigerians now ask; are we still in a democracy?
“With the outcome of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, Nigerians and the world have lost hope in our institutions of democracy and security system as presently constituted.
“They have completely lost hope in INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, which has shown itself to be a repressive tool in the hands of dictatorial forces.”
He condoled with the families of those who were killed in Kogi and Bayelsa states and prayed that God to grant their souls eternal rest.
Situation Room scores polls low
In the same vein, the coalition of 400 civil rights organisations under the aegis the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room expressed disappointment over the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
While demanding the cancellation of the entire election conducted in Kogi State, the organisation called on INEC to investigate the election in Bayelsa State with a view to identifying malpractices that took place and reflect the genuine vote of the people.
The Convener of the NCSSR, Clement Nwankwo, in a statement in Abuja described the Kogi State election as “a major dent on Nigeria’s democratic process.”
– The Punch