Blow By Blow Account Of How The Kogi & Bayelsa Elections Went + Election Observers Call For Cancellation Of Kogi Elections Due To Violence, Deaths, Ballot Snatching & Other Irregularities

The elections in Kogi State have come and gone, but it is an election allegedly fraught with irregularities, violence and fraud. Opposition parties and even INEC electoral observers has called for a cancellation of the elections, especially with the incidences of missing INEC staff, deaths and all other alleged electoral malpractices.

WakeUpAfrica brings you details of what transpired in Kogi State over the weekend. But first, here are the election results as published by INEC.

Kogi State Governorship Election Result (As Announced by INEC)

LGs                                APC                  PDP                   SDP

ADAVI                           64,657                366                  279

AJAOKUTA                    17,952               5,565              323

NKPA                             11,209              28,108              390

BASSA                           8,386                 9,724                269

DEKINA                         8,948                16,575              321

IBAJI IDAH                     4,602                13,952              221

IGALAMELA-ODOLU   8,075                11,195             208

IJUMU                           11,425             7587                 223

KABBA/BUNU              15,364             8,084               364

KOTON KARFE              14,097            9,404               657

LOKOJA MOPA-MURO 4,853              3,581              95

OFU                                 11,006           12,164            531

OGORI/MAGONGO      3,679              2,145             244

OKEHI                             36,954            478                3,015

OKENE                           112,764           139                 50

OLAMABORO               16,876            8,155              262

OMALA                           8,473              14,403          567

YAGBA EAST                    6,735               7,546            220

YAGBA WEST                  7,868              8,860             211    

during the elections, 30 INEC ad-hoc staff were declared missing around 1 a.m on Sunday, during the final collation of results in Olamaboro LG. but they were later found on Sunday afternoon.

“We can now confirm that all the 30 ad-hoc staff engaged for the 2019 Kogi Governorship election and posted to Polling Units 002, 006 and 013 at Olamaboro III; and Polling Units 006, 012, 015, 016, 022 at Imani 1 all in Olamaboro Local Government Area have been accounted for,” the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES. “The staff are safe, sound and back in their respective homes”.

He also said the election-day duty staff were prevented from doing their duties due to the violent attacks by some armed thugs after the close of polls.

“They were able to successfully conclude the result collation process before the commotion started, but the collated election results at Local Government Level have been announced at the State Collation Centre at the Commission’s State Office in Lokoja,” he said.

Following several reports of pre-election and election violence during the Kogi and Bayelsa elections, INEC, had to condemn the attacks. The commission said this through a statement signed by the INEC Commissioner of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye on Saturday.

Read INEC’s full statement

INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION

PLOT 436. ZAMBEZI CRESCENT. MAITAMA DISTRICT PM B. 0184 GARKI -ABUJA.

PRESS RELEASE

Voting has now closed in all polling units in the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States. The Commission deployed staff and materials in 4,352 polling units in the two States for the govemorship elections, Kogi West Senatorial rerun election and Bras 1 State Constituency supplementary election in Bayelsa State. In addition, National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and other staff were deployed to monitor and supervise the elections. These field officers are regularly submitting real-time reports to the Commission on developments in the field.

The Commission is carefully monitoring the processes. Reports from accredited observers and our officials in the field indicate that most voters who were willing to vote had the opportunity to do so. The Commission delivered materials to its two State offices in good time and made adequate preparations for the movement of staff and materials to the various voting locations., Unfortunately, however, despite all the efforts of the Commission and the s pf the political parties to promote peaceful elections, including several engagements’ with stakeholders and signing of Peace Accords, there are reports indicating that the process was in several places affected by thuggery and violence. which the Commission unequivocally condemns We are still receiving. collating and evaluating these reports as we move into the critical phase of result collation.

Results will be collated at Registration Areas, Local Government Areas and State levels. Staff of the Commission are ready to receive these results and stakeholders are advised to keep to their commitments to ensure peaceful conduct. All electoral officials are reminded of the oath of neutrality they subscribed to.

Finally, the Commission calls on the general public to remain calm, while assuring voters in the two States of the resolve of the Commission to ensure that the elections are concluded fairly and credibly.

Festus Okoye Esq.

National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee

November 16th, 2019

There were also allegations of a suspected PDP supporter who was caught on camera thumb printing. The incident occurred at polling Unit 001 in ward 4, Odu- Ogbeyaga area of Dekina local government area, and it’s also the polling centre where the PDP candidate Musa Wada voted.

Premium Times filmed the rigging incident where the man allegedly thumb printed about 50 ballot papers, though the video did not show clearly which party the ballots favoured. Meanwhile, Legit.ng also reported that a collation officer for the governorship in Igalamela-Odolu local government area of Kogi state, became the star of the ongoing announcement of results at the INEC centre in Lokoja, because the unnamed official presented the alleged bribe money politicians offered him to the presiding officer of the local government.

Although he didn’t mention the details of the party nor give the names of those that gave them the money, he showed the huge wad of cash that he and his team were offered by desperate politicians trying to change the results of the election. Also, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) accused politicians in Kogi State of trying to influence officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with N50,000 in total.

On the side of the senatorial elections, Dino Melaye lost his nephew Olorunjuwon, who sustained gunshot wounds during Saturday’s elections. Melaye and Senator Smart Adeyemi are recontesting for the Kogi West senatorial district representative.

Melaye on Sunday morning announced the death of Olorunjuwon, on his Twitter page saying: “My nephew Olorunjuwon who was shot at my pooling unit yesterday died this morning. My brother your death is a Supreme sacrifice in the struggle for the liberation of our people. Rest in peace aburo… So sad.”

While supporters of all candidates and parties in the Kogi elections waited for the results to be announced, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA Africa), immediately called on INEC to conduct a new election in Kogi State following reported cases of violence, vote-buying, and manipulation of voters.

YIAGA a pro-African election observation platform,  in a statement explained that the elections in Kogi State did not reflect the preferences of voters, because they were not given genuine opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

Read the full statement below:

YIAGA AFRICA Process Statement 2019 Kogi Governorship Election

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Abuja

Introduction

 Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives us great pleasure to welcome you to YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) Statement on the conduct of the Governorship and Kogi West Senatorial District election. YIAGA AFRICA deployed a total of 548 observers for the Kogi elections with 500 polling unit observers deployed to 250 sampled polling units. Polling unit observers provided reports on the conduct of the election day process from the opening of polls to the posting of results at the polling unit level. The WTV Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) data revealed that INEC officials had arrived at 52% of the sampled polling units by 7:30 am, with accreditation and voting commencing in 79% of the sampled polling units by 9 am with essential electoral materials like the smart card reader present in 98% of polling units. While the PVT data demonstrated the commencement of polls in the state, the situational analysis of the process highlighted major infractions that had significant potential of impacting the credibility of the process.

This statement on the conduct of the elections is based on WTV observation of the processes of accreditation, voting, and the counting and posting of results. This statement represents a culmination of our findings from the pre-election environment through election day and highlights critical incidents observed that threaten the credibility of the elections.

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!”. Employing the PVT methodology – the gold standard for citizen observation – WTV deployed 500 stationary observers in pairs to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units, and 27 mobile observers located in all 21 local government areas (LGAs) of Kogi state. WTV also deployed 21 collation centre observers to each of the LGA collation centres.

YIAGA AFRICA implemented its WTV observation to provide citizens, candidates, political parties and INEC with independent, accurate and timely information that reflects the ballots cast at polling units for the Kogi gubernatorial election and Kogi West senatorial election.

Pre-election Observation Findings

 In line with YIAGA AFRICA’s commitment to electoral integrity through citizen oversight of the electoral process, WTV deployed a pre-election observation (PREO) mission in Kogi in all 21 LGAs over a period of eight weeks. The WTV PREO highlights certain findings that are consistent with emerging trends that threaten the conduct of a peaceful and credible election in Kogi. Major findings highlighted include:

Political Campaigns and Rallies Marred by Violence: Political campaigns and rallies in Kogi were marred with brigandage, assault, and violence. Observers reported violent physical attacks at rallies/meetings or campaign events across the LGAs with specific reports of intimidation of candidates/supporters in Ankpa, Dekina, Idah, and Ofu.

Stockpiling of Arms, Ammunition, and Recruitment of Political Thugs: WTV highlighted the worrisome trend of easy access and a stockpile of small arms and light weapons and the active recruitment of thugs in the state. WTV expressed concern about the possible impact of this stockpiling and recruitment on the conduct of peaceful elections in the state, especially given the lack of response by security agencies before the elections.

Money Politics and Abuse of Electoral Laws: The PREO findings indicated a trend of voter inducement, including the purchase of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and voter information details. WTV observed political parties moving from house to house in Ankpa LGA to document names, polling unit numbers, and addresses of citizens with PVCs, offering advance payments of five hundred naira (N500) and gift items such as vehicles in several communities ahead of the election. The campaigns were a contest between the highest bidders and the trend projected a possible overbearing influence of money in the election due to the level of vote-buying, community collusion, and electoral thugs bargaining.

Status of Election Administration and Preparations: while the pre-election report indicated the early commencement of activities by INEC, the question on early and effective deployment of materials and personnel was a concern in the pre-election phase. The findings from WTV’s monitoring revealed the reasonable compliance of INEC with the elections timetable as indicated in the conduct of preparatory activities such as recruitment and training of ad-hoc staff, stakeholder engagements and voter education amongst others, in preparations for the November 16 polls. Of important note is the role the courts played in the election, especially with the last-minute judgments that impacted on elections operations and logistics management. The conflicting nature of those judgments delivered by courts of coordinate jurisdiction complicated INEC’s preparations for the elections.

Summary of Election Day Findings

 On election day, YIAGA Africa received and confirmed a total of 69 incident reports from its WTV observers. Critical incident reports capture instances that could undermine the integrity of the electoral process. Majority of the incidents observed on election day include snatching or stuffing of ballot boxes, vote-buying/bribery and accreditation of people without using card readers each recorded in over 10 polling units.

The most serious of the critical incidents reported include;

Intimidation or harassment of voters and polling officials: WTV recorded intimidation and harassment of voters, observers and polling officials by unknown armed men and party agents of some identified political These cases were reported in: PU 017 Ward 12 and PU 027, Ayingba Etiaga Ward Dekina LGA, PU 001 Ward C Lokoja LGA, Ojuwo Junction Market Square, Ankpa; Lokoja (PU 001, Ward C), Ofu (PU 005, Ugwalawo ward), Ankpa (Ojokwu ward 3) and Igalamela/Odolu (PU 022, ward 08) LGA. WTV observers were beaten and their observation checklists destroyed. and, then the process, degenerated to sporadic shooting in PU 027, Ayingba Etiaga, Dekina LGA. YIAGA AFRICA also received reports of intimidation of journalists and election observer groups like Inclusive Friends, Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room and Search for Common Ground in the full glare of security agencies who made no effort to forestall or reprimand the political thugs.

Ballot box snatching/stuffing: Election infarction, including snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes and papers were reported and confirm in: PU 006 Anyigba ward, Dekina LGA, ASUTA WARD, AYETORO GBEDE UNIT II HIGH COURT PU, 005, Odolu Ajaka ward 1, 22/08/07/015, Oganaji LGEA Primary School, Anyigba Dekina, PU 008 (WTV Sampled PU) OLAMABORO WARD 3 CEREMONIAL SQUARE, PU 003 Ukwo Ward 01 OLUBUN PU, ASUTA WARD, PU 003, Obaji Ward 1, Kogi K. K LGA, PU001, Ejule/Alla Ward, Ofu LGA, PU001, Ogaki Ward 06, PU-002,Aiyetoro Gbede, PU-003,Ilemo Mopamuro, PU-004,Lokoja.

Vote buying/bribery: YIAGA AFRICA received reports on vote suppression manifested in the form of denying voters access to polling units by political thugs. This was prevalent in: At Aluaja, Iyano Ward in Ibaji LGA, Lagazi/Fam Center ward which has about 5 Polling units situated closely, LEA Primary Atsagba and Central Primary School gboloko, PU 005, AGOR, PU 006, Ward 01 Ediya – North, Ajaokuta LGA, PU 010, Ward 01, Ankpa Township ward, PU001 Ugwoda Ward, Idah LGA, PU007 Itale II, Iyano Ward, Ibaji LGA, PU009, Ward 03 Kogi KK, PU- 01,Odole 1 Mopamuro, WARD 007 UNIT 5 IN ISANLU, YAGBA EAST, ward 08, PU 01 Isanlu, Yagba East, Ward- 10 Nadazi farm centre PU 003, PU-005 Ward- Lokoja B,

Accreditation of people without using Card Reader: Aiyekpele 1 and 2. PU 022/08/08/002. Aipkele 1 and 2 Open space, Ajaka Ward 2 Igalamela/Odolu, AT THE PU ATI-AJA, 2, PU 027 AYINGBA, Barrak 2 PU 002, Adumudume Dekina, GRA CML Primary school, Anyigba Dekina, PU 009 IN ANYINGBA COMMERCIAL SECONDARY SCHOOL, PU 004, Ugwolawo Ward 1, 05, PU 005 Ward-Deregu, Ganadga Ajaokuta, PU 005 Ugwulawo Ward 10, Ofu LGA, SAMPLED P.U, Ward- Odo Egbe 2 PU-005,Egbe Yagba West

Violence and Attack on Observer Groups. WTV observers were unable to observe election day processes due to issues of violence in or near the polling units in Dekina, Ankpa, Okene, Lokoja and Ibaji LGAs.

The critical incidents reported highlight some of the key challenges associated with the conduct of the Kogi 2019 governorship and senatorial election.

Findings on the Election Process

 YIAGA AFRICA observed that security officials and election day materials deployed late, resulting in polling units opening late. As at 7:30 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at 52% of polling units.

In addition, YIAGA AFRICA condemned the violence and brigandage in some polling units resulting in disruption of voting. YIAGA AFRICA called on INEC to cancel elections in those polling units where there were cases of snatching of ballot papers/boxes, violence, and disruption of the polling.

In the spirit of transparency, YIAGA AFRICA called on INEC to make public the list of polling units where elections are canceled. YIAGA also called on security agencies to ensure adequate security was provided to voters and INEC in order to complete the process of voting, results collation and declaration.

Accreditation and Voting Processes

YIAGA AFRICA observed accreditation, voting, and counting at polling units in all 21 LGAs. YIAGA AFRICA’s updated findings are based on reports from 233 of 250 sampled polling units.

At 83% of polling units, the card reader functioned throughout the day.

At 91% of polling units, every potential voter’s fingers were checked for indelible ink before being permitted to vote.

At 92% of polling units, every potential voter’s permanent voter card (PVC) was checked by the card reader. At 95% of polling units, every potential voter’s PVC was checked against the register of voters. At 97% of polling units, no one was accredited to vote who did not have a PVC.

At 92% of polling units, every potential voter’s fingerprints were checked by the card reader.

91% of polling units the voting cubicles were set up so no one could see how the voters marked their ballot, However, at 15% of polling units, it was possible to see how a voter’s ballot paper was marked when it was put in the ballot box.

At 98% of polling units, indelible ink was applied to the cuticle of a finger of every accredited voter.

During accreditation and voting, at 17% of polling units, voters crowded the polling officials, at 11% of polling units there were attempts by people to influence the polling officials,

25% of polling units completed accreditation and voting by the designated time of 2:00 pm while by 3:00 pm 79% of polling units had completed accreditation and voting.

Counting

 At 97% of polling units, polling officials showed how every ballot paper was marked to everyone present.

At 94% of polling units, an APC polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).

At 83% of polling units, a PDP polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).

At 47% of polling units, an SDP polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).

At 9% of polling units, polling official recounted the ballot

At 89% of polling units, the official results were posted for the public to

Conclusion

 Ladies and gentlemen of the press, YIAGA AFRICA’s data, based on two months of reports from our citizen observers, exposes serious shortcomings in the pre-election period, the election day environment and, to a lesser extent, in the conduct of the polls themselves. These issues seriously compromise the credibility of the Kogi gubernatorial and senatorial polls.

While we recognize it is the sole responsibility of INEC to conduct elections and ensure their credibility and acceptability, it is important to state clearly that there are other stakeholders whose roles are equally important in determining the credibility of elections – security agencies, political parties, and their related recruits and candidates. To a great extent, the attitudes, actions, and dispositions of these stakeholders could make or mar the credibility of any election.

On this particular election, while we believe, there has been a significant improvement in the conduct of elections in the country, especially in INEC’s conduct and processes, we note some drawbacks in election logistics management, quality of election personnel; integrity and transparency of the results collation. The challenges in Kogi state 2019 gubernatorial elections squally lie on the role and failures of security agencies, the police in particular, political parties, the major candidates and their state and non-state accomplices. These stakeholders deliberately worked to undermine the election. They appeared to be more concerned about electoral victory than the credibility and legitimacy of the process. The unacceptable vote procurement (vote buying) and violence perpetrated by the systematically recruited and prepared party officials and thugs were carried out under the full glare of the almost nonchalant security officials. They acted helplessly as if they were under instruction not to respond to the situation, if not already prepared to support the brigandage.

Political parties failed to contest these elections according to the democratic rules of the game and instead vied for elected office based on buying votes rather than speaking to issues, manipulating the courts for political advantage, and compromising the political environment to prevent political competition. While it is political parties that have undermined the pre-election and election day environment thereby undermining the fundamental rights of voters of Kogi state to fully and freely participate in all aspects of the electoral process, it is the security agencies that have failed to maintain public order and to bring to book those responsible for electoral offenses and it is the courts that have entertained the shenanigans of political party petitions designed only to limit political competition. While INEC, like the people of Kogi State, is itself a victim of the actions of political parties, the security agencies and the courts, once again INEC failed to put in place sufficient safeguards and operational practices to ensure the elections could be conducted despite these perennial challenges.

These elections took place against the backdrop of the 2019 general elections, those elections did not meet the expectations of many Nigerians and were a missed opportunity to enhance public confidence in the country’s electoral institutions. Kogi governorship and senatorial elections, as well as the Bayelsa gubernatorial election held on the same day, provided an opportunity of all election stakeholders to change Nigeria’s electoral trajectory.

Instead, the people of Kogi have not been given the opportunity to fully exercise their right to vote. As a result, the results of these elections, regardless of the outcome cannot be said to reflect the preferences of voters in Kogi. In such a circumstance, YIAGA AFRICA calls upon INEC to conduct a thorough investigation of the conduct of the Kogi governorship and senatorial elections and to conduct a new election that gives voters a genuine opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Perpetrators of violence and their sponsors should be arrested and prosecuted. Consistent with our own protocols and international best practice, YIAGA AFRICA will not release its PVT results data as the PVT estimates cannot reflect the preferences of Kogi voters because the political parties, security agencies, and the courts compromised the credibility of the Kogi governorship and senatorial elections.

We are deeply worried and concerned about this emerging trend in electoral manipulation and the deepening culture of impunity. Failure to institutionally and decisively act could undermine our democracy. Our politicians, political parties and security agencies have become important threats to our democracy and we must work to hold them to account. The Nigerian political class should be recognized as such and place in the right plinth for interrogations, increased engagement and be exposed for local and international sanction.

Despite the serious failings of the Kogi gubernatorial and senatorial elections, YIAGA AFRICA wants to thank those voters who went to the polls despite the myriad of challenges. We would also like to thank the many Nigerians across the state who volunteered to serve as non-partisan election observers on behalf of all the people of Kogi. Despite the shortcomings of the elections, YIAGA AFRICA commends the dedication and commitment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYCS) members who served as ad hoc poll officials. YIAGA AFRICA also appreciates the collaboration of our development partners and their commitment to Nigerian initiatives to ensure credible elections in our country.

YIAGA AFRICA, through the #WatchingTheVote initiative, is committed to promoting more credible elections by providing independent information on the conduct of elections and independently verifying the accuracy of election results. #WatchingTheVote is For All Nigerians, Beholden to No One, and Driven By Data.

 Long live Kogi state, long live Nigeria. Thank you.

— End —

Dr. Hussaini Abdu

Chair, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote – Kogi Observation Mission

Samson Itodo

Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA

Moshood Isah

Communication Officer YIAGA AFRICA

As if the call from YIAGA for the cancellation of the Kogi elections was not enough, the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, also called for the total cancellation of the elections held in Kogi State on same Saturday due to the high level of violence and vote buying.

The Situation Room, which is a coalition of prominent civic groups, said the Kogi election represents a major dent to Nigeria’s democracy. The convener of the situation room, Clement Nwankwo, announced the group’s stance in a press conference in Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, if this election is allowed to stand, 2023 and Ondo State election next year will be a bloodbath. The Situation Room is one of the accredited observers for the election.

The Kogi State election was characterised by late arrival of electoral materials, violence and intimidation of voters, but it was also peaceful and efficient in some other areas.

In other news, the elections in Bayelsa State was concluded, also amidst incidences of violence, death and other malpractices. But the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr David Lyon, was declared as the winner of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State, by INEC.

The Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Faraday Orunmuwese, announced this today, Monday. Professor Orunmuwese’s report states that Lyon scored the highest number of votes in the poll.

The APC candidate polled a total of 352,552 votes to defeat his closest rival and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Duoye Diri, who scored 143,172 votes.

Bayelsans trooped en masse to their polling units to elect a new governor, who would succeed Mr Seriake Dickson. Mr Diri was Gov Dickson’s preferred candidate and would have ensured the PDP continued to rule in Bayelsa.

Meanwhile, the election was characterised with reports of violence and ballot snatching in some areas while some wards were merged together as a result of flooding. The collation of results of the election started on Sunday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Monday.

The Governor-elect won in six LGAs while his PDP rival claimed the remaining two LGAs. Lyon won in Brass, Ekeremor, Nembe, Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa LGAs while Diri won in Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama LGAs.

Declaring the APC candidate as the winner, Professor Orunmuwese explained that a total of 505,884 votes were cast, out of which 499,551 were counted as valid votes.

He added that a total of 922,562 voters registered for the election, but 517,883 voters were accredited.

See the table below:

LGA                                       APC                  PDP

BRASS                                  23,831              10,410

EKEREMOR                         21,489             18,344

KOLOKUMA/OPOKUMA   8,934               15,360

NEMBE                                83,041              874

OGBIA                                 58,016               13,763

SAGBAMA                          7,831                  60,339

SOUTHERN IJAW             124,803               4,898

YENAGOA                          24,607                19,184

TOTAL                               352,552               143,172

What do you think of this story?

Do you believe the elections in Kogi was free and fair?

What about that of Bayelsa State?

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