Guber, Assembly Polls: INEC Releases Results Amid Protests, Rejections
The governorship and House of Assembly elections were held on Saturday amid contentious issues of violence, intimidation, vote-buying, rigging and other disruptive acts allegedly perpetrated by politicians who are said to be desperate to emerge winners.
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Though results from some states have been announced, there are questions regarding the polls' integrity and general outcome.
Also, going by the results announced in some local governments so far, it is becoming more apparent who is coasting to victory in other states yet to be officially announced by INEC.
Recall that following the disputed presidential election, which was held on February 25, especially with the failure of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, INEC had promised to improve the system to achieve a free, fair and credible election.
Even though reports have it that the BVAS worked perfectly this time and results were transmitted in real-time, there are severe issues of violence, intimidation, ballot box snatching, vote-buying and rigging.
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With the above, elections from some states have been written off by Nigerians who argue that states like Lagos, Rivers, Enugu, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and a few others should not be allowed to stand following the daylight robbery witnessed mainly by the people.
Results from states like Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Yobe, Katsina, Kano, Lagos and others have since been declared.
This is happening amid protests and agitations by some state voters.
In Kano, the opposition New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, had in the early hours of Monday been declared the winner of the governorship election. The party’s candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf, won with 1,190,002 votes against his closest rival and APC’s candidate, Nasir Gawuna, who polled 800,9055 votes.
Earlier, there was tension in the state over an alleged attempt to manipulate the exercise. This made the Kwankwasiya group mobilise to the state’s INEC collation centre.
Currently, there is a declaration of dusk to dawn in the state to stop any act of violence that may erupt following the declaration.
It’s, however, likely that the ruling party will proceed to court to challenge the exercise.
Despite the alleged widespread violence, intimidation, and rigging that marred the governorship election in Lagos State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in the early hours of Monday, March 20, declared Babjide Sanwo-Olu winner of the poll, leaving his closest rival Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party to grumble over the outcome.
Sanwo-Olu polled 762,134 votes, while Rhodes-Vivour polled 312,329. Meanwhile, Olajide Adeniran of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who came third, polled 62,449 votes.
Recall an alleged threat to the southeasterners residing in the state. The threat came a day before the governorship election when MC Oluomo was seen in a video warning the Igbos in the state not to bother coming out to vote if they were not going to vote for the APC.
However, MC Oluomo, the Parks and Garden's boss in Lagos, denied the video, saying he was merely joking with a woman.
But many believed the statement triggered the attacks on people considered to be strangers ( The Igbos) in the state. Trending videos of shootings, killing and snatching of ballot boxes went viral on Saturday.
Already, Rohodes-Vivour, in a chat with journalists, had pointed out graphically what he termed a sham election, stating that he was never going to congratulate Sanwo-Olu for winning through the back doors. Apart from violence and intimidation, he pointed out alleged mutilated result sheets uploaded into the IREV, insisting that the process would be challenged in court.
"I will never call Babajide Sanwo-Olu for this shambolic, this sham of an election. This violence that literally set in precedence for war in the next election."
Though results from Benue are yet to be officially released, there is every indication that the APC's Fr. Alia is on a victory ride. Only the Kwande Local Government result is yet to be announced.
But the state's election, mainly considered peaceful, got its share of violence as it witnessed multiple attacks, especially in Gboko.
Security operatives gunned down suspected thugs who allegedly attacked polling units in the area.
In Rivers state, it has been alleged the atmosphere was utterly warlike as the ruling party took advantage of the security it enjoys to attack voters.
On Sunday, almost all the agents of political parties at the collation centre raised the alarm over violence and intimidation, disclosing that all results collated were done at the various Local Government headquarters with no single agent as a witness. They alleged that party agents did not sign the result sheets.
Earlier, shooters had shot dead the APC Campaign Coordinator in Ahoada-West Local Government of the State, Chisom Lennard, hours after he was abducted.
Lennard was kidnapped by the shooters who allegedly dressed in police uniform while exercising his franchise during the governorship and state House of Assembly elections at Ibagwa polling unit 2 ward 10 in Ahoada West LGA.
The allegations and counter-allegations from Rivers State have left many in doubt if the results will stand even if declared.
Former Rivers State Governor and APC leader Rotimi Amaechi had earlier described the River Guber as a battle between the APC and the PDP and a battle against INEC and the police. He accused the INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu of being partisan.
Other flash states
In Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Niger State, reports of violence were equally reported. Arise TV had earlier said that fewer than 17 persons had reportedly been killed during the guber elections.
Meanwhile, the police are yet to officially react to the widespread violence even as the announcement of results in some states has been shifted over alleged irregularities. A case study is that of Enugu State, where Nkanu East, Nsukka elections and a few other places are seriously contending.