Journalism of Courage

Kogi Gov. Election: 149,576 votes cancelled, says INEC

About 149,576 votes were cancelled in the just concluded November 16 Kogi Governorship Election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed.

According to the electoral body, the votes were cancelled because of violence, ballot box-snatching and others in the election.

Persecondnews recalls that INEC had declared Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner in spite od the huge number of votes wasted and uncounted.

INEC said Bello scored 406,222 while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Engr.Musa Wada, got 189,704 votes.

Placing third is Mrs Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) with 9,482 votes.

The State Collation Officer and Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ibrahim Garba said Bello, having satisfied the requirements of the law, was declared the winner.

With the victory margin at 216,518,  a total of 636,202 voters were accredited from the 1,646,356 registered voters with 610,744 valid votes cast, while 13,770 votes were rejected.

According to INEC, Bello got majority votes in 12 of the 21 local government areas.

In protest, the agent of the PDP at the Collation Centre, retired Captain Jerry Agada, had refused to sign the result sheet, saying he does not agree with the figures.

“The party will take the process further by testing the outcome at the tribunal.’’

At least three people died in Lokoja as a result of violence including Sen. Dino Melaye.

PDP agents submitted a report on four areas within Lokoja, the state capital, where election did not take place.

Some policeman were arrested for shooting a voter on the queue while elections were cancelled in about 147 polling centres.

Meanwhile, Wada has described the election as “a coup’’ against the Kogi people.

At a news conference in Abuja, he vowed to challenge Governor Bello’s victory, saying the overwhelming majority of the people rejected the election’s outcome.

“It is clear to all that there was no election on Saturday, November 16th 2019 but a declaration and execution of war against the people.

“What happened in Kogi was an organised war against democracy; coup against the people and seizure of power through brigandage and the barrel of the gun with members of the police and other security agencies coordinating the stealing of people’s votes.

“The police aided armed APC thugs to invade polling units with impunity, shoot and kill voters and carted away ballot boxes to government facilities where results were written in favour of APC and handed over to INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) to announce against the will of the people.

“Police helicopters were used to attack polling units, fire tear gas on voters and provided cover to APC hoodlums and policemen who brutalised the people of Kogi state and stole their mandate.

“The APC turned our state into a theatre of war. No fewer than nine innocent Nigerians were killed. Many more were maimed and injured by the APC in their desperation to seize power at all cost.

“It is, therefore, distressing that INEC went ahead with a shameful collation and declaration of fabricated results despite the glaring disruptions that characterised the shambolic exercise.”

Wada accused INEC of cancelling votes cast for the PDP in the party’s strongholds, subtracted from PDP votes in many other areas and padded the votes of the APC to give a semblance of victory to APC.

According to him, the people of Kogi were horrified, brutalised and dehumanised during the exercise.

“We, therefore, stand with the people of Kogi to state without equivocation that this brigandage and stealing of our mandate cannot stand.

“We will never despair but remain strong in our determination to retrieve the mandate freely given to us by the people in their desire for a change. We will pursue this course to its logical conclusion within the confines of the law of this country,” Wada said.

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