Kogi Guber Poll: Electoral Analysts Reveal Why PDP Dino Melaye Lost

Kogi Guber Poll: Electoral Analysts Reveal Why PDP Dino Melaye Lost

  • Electoral analysts have explained Senator Dino Melaye's loss at the just-concluded gubernatorial election in Kogi
  • The former lawmaker emerged in a distant third position in what seemed like a stroll in the park for the ruling party
  • One analyst said the lawmaker was never destined to win the election due to his lack of connection with the people of Kogi state

Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil society, courts, and metro

The build-up to the highly anticipated Kogi state gubernatorial election had been predicted to be a keen contest.

However, the election failed to live up to the hype as it was a stroll in the park for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

Dino Melaye, PDP, Kogi
Senator Melaye came a distant third in the Kogi governorship poll with 46,362 votes. Photo Credit: Dino Melaye
Source: Facebook

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared APC candidate Usman Ododo the Kogi state governorship winner.

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Ododo won by 446,237 votes, defeating his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who scored 259,052, while Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came a distant third, polling only 46,362 votes.

However, this report centres on the perspective of electoral experts on why PDP's Senator Melaye, arguably the most popular of all the candidates, emerged in a distant third position.

1. Internal PDP crisis

The emergence of Senator Melaye in the PDP primaries has been laced with a series of controversies as it is rumoured that the election that produced him as the party candidate was not free and fair.

In a chat with Legit.ng, public affairs analyst, Dr Abubakar Sani said:

"There are allegations that the primaries that produced Dino were not free and fair, thus the reason some members of the PDP came out to endorse the victory of the APC."

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Recall that Legit.ng also reported that the Kogi state chapter of the PDP was hit with defection as some of the top chieftains aligned with the APC weeks before the election.

2. Minority factor

Also, it is essential to note that Senator Melaye hails from the Yoruba-speaking area of Kogi state, who are the minority.

Igalas predominantly dominate Kogi and the Ebiras, where the governor-elect and the incumbent hail from.

Moshood Isah, an electoral analyst with almost a decade of experience as an election observer, said Senator Melaye's chances of being a governor in Kogi State had always been slim due to his ethnicity.

The former communications officer at Yiaga Africa, who clarified that he was not being ethnocentric with his comment, told Legit.ng that:

"I think the fact that Dino comes from a minority group in Kogi state also counted against him despite his social standing in Nigeria.

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"The battle for the soul of Kogi state has always been between the Igalas, who are the dominant tribe in the state, and the Ebiras, who are the next in terms of popularity and majority.
"Thus it will take much more than what Dino is providing for someone from the Okun-speaking part of Kogi to win a Governorship election in the state."

3. Electoral malpractices/INEC complacency

Moshood further noted that INEC's complacency in the conduct of the election did not give Senator Melaye and Ajaka a fair playing ground to contest appropriately.

He said:

"We will always blame it on electoral practices and infractions in the electoral process. As long as elections are compromised, candidates who participated in the process have every right to cry foul.
"The allegations of pre-filled results sheets, by-passing of electronic accreditation and other challenges that affected the elections is enough reason for Dino Melaye and other candidates to complain of compromise."

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Corroborating the assertions of the electoral observer, Dr Sani said the election was characterised by violence, voter intimidation, rigging and the overbearing influence of the incumbent.

4. Senator Melaye's preparation and lack of connection with Kogi

While Senator Melaye is the most popular of all the candidates at the national level, analysts believe that he lacked a connection with his people in the grassroots back home in Kogi state.

Isah told Legit.ng that Dino was never the favourite to win the election, noting that if he had won his senatorial seat in the last election cycle, he wouldn't have contested for the governorship seat.

He said:

"While I think the Kogi Governorship election was fraught with inconsistencies and malpractices, I think Dino was not going to win the elections right from the onset because I don't think he had the most effective connections with the people of Kogi. Thus, it's even quite interesting that he came a distant third in the elections.

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"Also, he probably hasn't made enough impact on his people, especially when he was a lawmaker (House of Representatives member and a Senator) while spending most of his time outside his constituency.
"Personally, I think, if Dino doesn't lose his Senatorial seat, he may not contest for the Governorship position in Kogi State.
"Thus, I think right from 2019, contesting for Governor was an afterthought rather than something that was planned."

Kogi 2023: Melaye reveals how his position was allegedly determined

In another report, Senator Melaye said his third position was pre-determined before the election.

Melaye alleged that some powerful opposition enemies met and decided he must come third in the governorship election.

According to Melaye, there was no election but only an allocation of votes in the governorship election.

Source: Legit.ng

Segun Adeyemi avatar

Segun Adeyemi (Current Affairs and Politics Editor) Segun Adeyemi is a journalist with over 9 years of experience as an active field reporter, editor, and editorial manager. He has had stints with Daily Trust newspaper, Daily Nigerian, and News Digest. He currently works as an editor for Legit.ng's current affairs and politics desk. He holds a degree in Mass Communication (Adekunle Ajasin University). He is a certified digital reporter by Reuters, AFP and the co-convener of the annual campus journalism awards. Email: segun.adeyemi@corp.legit.ng.

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