The hotly contested Kogi State Governorship Election on November 11, 2023, has finally come to a close, with the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Usman Ododo, taking the much-coveted seat.
“Ahmed Usman Ododo of the APC, having certified the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” Urama announced in a room packed with party representatives and election observers.
Ododo received 446,237 votes, defeating Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who got 259,052 votes, and Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 46,362 votes.
The results from the state’s 21 local government areas (LGAs) were compiled late Sunday, with the APC candidate winning over half of the LGAs.
Ododo, a former Auditor General of Local Government in Kogi under Governor Yahaya Bello, was the governor’s choice to finish his eight-year double term.
On Saturday, Melaye and several human rights groups raised the alarm over “filled result sheets” in the North Central state’s Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area. The PDP candidate also demanded that the election be thrown off due to violence and vote buying. Following that, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stopped voting in nine wards in the local government area.
INEC said late Sunday that new elections will be held on November 18, 2023, in 59 voting units in the state’s Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area.
INEC, on the other hand, added a caveat to the polls being held in the 59 polling units, stating that “the decision to hold fresh elections is subject to the Returning Officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle.”
Urama stated late Sunday that the total number of Permanent Voter Cards in the affected polling units was 16,247, which was small in comparison to the over 200,000 votes garnered by the APC candidate ahead of his nearest challenger – Ajaka.
The margin of victory suggested that the elections scheduled by INEC for next Saturday in the 59 voting units would not take place.
Both Ajaka and Melaye have disputed the election results, citing dissatisfaction with INEC and security forces they allege of colluding with the governing APC in Kogi.