The governorship elections held in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states were more than just a tally of votes and preliminary outcomes. The contests in each state were marred by multiple challenges, casting shadows on the democratic process.
In Bayelsa, where Diri vies for re-election under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Uzodimma fights for the All Progressives Congress (APC), preliminary results reflect Diri’s 13,396 votes against Uzodimma’s 4,802 votes in 131 random polling units.
Imo State exhibits a lead for Uzodimma, with 22,113 votes against PDP’s Samuel Anyanwu with 1,452 votes across 90 polling units.
Kogi’s Three-Way Tussle:
The battle in Kogi presents a tight race between Usman Ododo (APC), Muri Ajaka (SDP), and PDP’s Dino Melaye, with Ododo securing 21,047 votes across 149 polling units.
Results Upload Progress:
As of the latest count, 85.29% of Bayelsa’s results, 90.1% of Imo’s, and 87.34% of Kogi’s have been uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing portal.
Meanwhile, in Bayelsa State, incidents of violence, voter intimidation, and the seizure of electoral materials disrupted the smooth conduct of the elections. Such incidents, witnessed in various local government areas, not only deterred voter participation but also posed serious security concerns. A fatal clash between supporters of the leading parties, the PDP and APC, in Famgbe, led to the tragic death of an unidentified individual. Additionally, reports surfaced regarding alleged vote-buying, leading to accusations and counter-accusations between the LP and PDP candidates, further tainting the electoral landscape.
Imo State faced severe challenges, including the tragic death of a man named Chidi, known as “General,” who was shot in the Amanwozuzu area of Iho in the Ikeduru Local Government Area. The incident was alleged to be linked to ballot paper snatching, indicative of the high tensions and adversities witnessed during the election. Reports of widespread vote-buying, intimidation of voters, and material snatching in areas like Orsu, Okigwe, and Ideato North and South further clouded the electoral process.
Similar stories emerged from Kogi State, where instances of low voter turnout and vote-buying were reported. Despite the commendable functionality of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System in the polling units, concerns of irregularities persisted. Reports of vote-buying close to Kenwon Hotel Polling Unit 073 and at Federal Medical Centre junction Polling Unit 058 underscored the challenges faced in ensuring a fair and transparent election process.
Amidst these challenges, the preliminary outcomes of the elections showcased initial leads for incumbents and their challengers. Governor Hope Uzodimma in Imo, Governor Douye Diri in Bayelsa, and the contest between Usman Ododo, Muri Ajaka, and Dino Melaye in Kogi were the focal points of the preliminary results.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) took a firm stance, suspending the election in nine wards of Kogi State due to alleged malpractices. They emphasized a zero-tolerance policy toward any results not emanating from the commission’s official process, demonstrating a commitment to preserving the integrity of the democratic exercise.
Political figures expressed mixed sentiments, reflecting disappointment and frustration. APC’s Sylva criticized INEC for registration mishaps, while LP’s Eradiri denounced the prevalence of vote-buying and irregularities, signaling a disappointment in the erosion of fair voting practices.
The elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa, despite showcasing initial winners, were overshadowed by numerous irregularities and challenges, prompting concerns about the fairness and transparency of the electoral process in these states. The elections, though marked by significant outcomes, were clouded by incidents that tested the integrity of the democratic exercise.