By Clifford Ndujihe, Samuel Oyadongha, Peter Duru, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Dirisu Yakubu, Marie-Therese Nanlong, David Odama & Charles Agwam
VIOLENCE, voters’ apathy, vote-buying, and allegations of manipulation, yesterday, marred the supplementary governorship and state assembly elections in some states of the country.
The governorship segment of the polls took place in five states, Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Plateau and Bauchi, while the State Assembly version was held in 18 states.
In Kano, journalists were attacked when thugs disrupted the electoral process and chased voters away at Suntulma Gama Primary School in Nasarawa Local Council. The development led the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to call for the cancellation of the March 23 make-up poll and the declaration of its governorship candidate, Abba Yusuf, as the winner based on the March 9 result. The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, pooh-poohed the PDP’s call and argued that the exercise must be concluded. The supplementary polls were held in 28 of of the 44 local councils of the state.
A similar incident happened in Chito, the headquarters of Azendeshi council ward, in Ukum Local Council of Benue State where hoodlums disrupted the process and burnt election materials.
In Sokoto, APC and PDP leaders clashed at some polling units following allegations of vote-buying dotted the exercise Sokoto South Local Council.
However, the turnout of voters was impressive in Plateau and Nasarawa states.
How journalists escaped death in Kano
Suspected thugs disrupted the electoral process at Suntulma Gama Primary School in Nasarawa Local Council of Kano State, yesterday, sending voters away from the polling units.
The suspects, who wore T-shirts with the inscription of one of the two leading political parties brandished weapons freely.
Among the journalists attacked were Maduabuchi Nmeribe of The Authority, and Kola Oyelere of Tribune.
Trouble began at the primary school when the reporters tried to interview some voters who were denied access into the classrooms where some of the polling units were stationed.
While trying to escape during the attack, some of the journalists fell on ground and one of them had to take refuge in a nearby mosque.
Speaking to reporters, some voters alleged that they were not allowed to exercise their franchise as they were chased out of the area.
Aminu Tijjani, a resident, said he went to the primary school to cast his vote at his polling unit but had to return to escape the attack.
“The situation is very bad and this is not how to conduct an election where people or voters are denied the opportunity to vote,” Tijjani said.
Another voter, Sani Abdullahi, said he came to vote as early as 8am but was scared away by the suspected thugs numbering about 10.
The contest in Kano is between Abba Kabir-Yusuf of the PDP, who polled 1,014,477 votes, and Abdullahi Ganduje, the incumbent governor of the state and candidate of the APC, who got 987,810 votes in the first poll conducted on March 9.
The difference between the candidates is 26,655 votes while 128, 572 votes were cancelled.
PDP asks INEC to cancel supplementary poll, declare its candidate winner
Reacting to the development, the PDP in Kano State asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to cancel the supplementary governorship election held in 208 polling units across the 28 local councils of the state.
Rabiu Sulaiman-Bichi, Acting Chairman of the party, made the call while addressing journalists yesterday.
Bichi said: “Today this charade called re-run election was slated to hold in Kano and other states but, unfortunately, what we have in Kano is nothing but a sham. Reports reaching us since yesterday (Friday) indicated that thugs have allegedly been mobilised to take over all the 208 polling units.”
According to him, the thugs were allegedly brought from Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau and other neighbouring states and were “armed to the teeth”, posing as voters in the polling units in the localities.
The Chairman alleged that the thugs freely voted with permanent voter cards (PVCs) that did not belong to them, while some posed as INEC staff.
The national leadership Chapter of the PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, spoke in like manner, saying: “In Gama, evidence abound of how APC thugs attacked and unleashed terror on PDP members during which four of our members were feared killed and many more injured. APC thugs violated the secrecy of the ballot process, beat up and chased away supporters of the PDP after which they engaged in massive ballot stuffing for the APC.”
The statement continued: “In other areas of Kano, aliens imported by the APC attempted to participate in the election and attacked journalists and observers who attempted to raise issues on the infraction.’’
The PDP said INEC was already aware that the police arrested a Kano State Commissioner, “alongside APC thugs he led to disrupt election in Yelwa in Dala local government area of the state.’’
Declare our candidate, winner now – PDP
The PDP urged the INEC, to immediately its candidate, Yusuf, as the winner of the Kano governorship election, having scored the highest number of lawful votes and secured the statutory 25 per cent in two-third of the state.
Ologbondiyan insisted that no valid polling held at the March 23 Kano supplementary elections and therefore no figures could be fabricated from the exercise to displace Yusuf’s leading margin of over 26, 000 votes.
The statement read: “We call on INEC to immediately do the needful by respecting the will of the people as freely expressed on March 9 and announce Abba Yusuf, the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, as the winner of the election, having fulfilled the demands of Section 179 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The people of Kano State have since made up their minds to have Abba Yusuf as their governor and any attempt by anybody to subvert their will, as already expressed in the March 9 substantive poll, will surely attract the legitimate anger of the masses.
“INEC is already aware that its supplementary election in Kano was completely disrupted by thugs contracted by the All Progressives Congress, who invaded polling units and chased away voters. The commission therefore cannot accept fabricated figures being bandied by the APC as results from the scuttled rerun.’’
Kano APC dismisses PDP’s allegations as false
Countering, the Kano State APC Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, dismissed the PDP’s allegations against as not only untrue and unfounded, but also a calculated attempt to dent the image of the party and the state government.
Abdullahi urged INEC to disregard the call for the cancellation of the re-run governorship election and ensure that the election is concluded.
“We are calling on INEC to ensure the successful completion of the exercise. It is unfortunate that the PDP chairman called for the cancellation of the election, while the election is still ongoing. This is a clear indication that they are afraid of losing the election, otherwise, why should he call for the cancellation of the election”, he said.
According to him, the APC had done its homework by mobilising its supporters to come out and vote. The APC Chairman, however, called on residents to remain calm and await the announcement of final results.
Poll largely peaceful, 10 arrested – Police
The police denied reports of widespread violence in Kano. Michael Obizi, Police DIG overseeing the poll in the state, told journalists the make-up exercise in the state was “peaceful but with minor incidents” and that 10 suspects had been arrested. “All reports that thugs disrupted the elections are not true,’’ he added.
He spoke amid allegations that the police denied observers from Situation Room access to collation centre at Gama Ward.
Kano State government also denied the arrest of the Commissioner, who was said to have been picked by the police for allegedly disrupting the election. Muhammad Garba, the State Commissioner for Information, said the Commissioners reported arrest is all “white lies” and propaganda.
Benue: Amid apathy, hoodlums disrupt poll, burn materials in Azendeshi
Youths, suspected to be members of the leading parties in Benue, in the early hours of yesterday, overpowered security personnel and disrupted the supplementary election in Chito, the headquarters Azendeshi council ward, in Ukum local council of the state.
Some of the rampaging youths attacked INEC officials, agents of a rival party and observers after which they snatched electoral materials meant for the election, burnt them and thereby disrupted the entire process in the area.
Member representing Ukum constituency in Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Paul Biam, alongside, the Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Kachina Merga, Adviser to the State Governor on Revenue and Taxation, Mr Jerome Zaye, who were agents of the PDP in the area, were attacked by the irate youths.
When contacted, the INEC Public Relations Officer, PRO, for Benue State, Mr. Andyer Terkaa, confirmed the development.
Meanwhile, the polls witnessed low turnout of voters in most parts of the state.
Speaking to reporters, a former Minister of Interior and senator-elect for Benue South District Comrade Abba Moro, who is also the PDP Supervising Agent in the district, acknowledged some level of apathy in the process.
Moro, who said the people of Benue took the governorship rerun seriously despite the low turnout, said, “It is even better to witness some level of apathy and get the right result without anybody losing his life than to have a full swing and record rancour, violence and deaths.”
Impressive turnout as CP commends voters in Plateau
Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Isaac Akinmoyede, commended the citizens of the state for maintaining peace during the supplementary election.
The CP, who spoke while monitoring the exercise across polling units in the nine affected local councils, commended voters’ conduct so far and cautioned election observers not to be partisan while carrying out their duties..
He added that a large detachment of security personnel had been deployed to secure the process and ensure mischief makers do not take advantage of the situation to cause any form of disturbances, stressing that collation centres would be properly policed to ensure credibility of the supplementary election while providing enough cover for electoral officers heading to the INEC headquarters in Jos.
Though a stay at home order was issued and movement restricted from 6.00am to 6.00pm, the order was defied as cars and vehicles were plying the roads with passengers and businesses operated without any hindrance especially in Mangu town.
And whereas the exercise did not commence on time in some polling units in Mangu, the initial apathy was overcome as turnout was impressive compared to what obtained on March 9 when the initial election was held.
Impressive turnout in Nasarawa
Contrary to expectation of low turnout, there was large turnout of voters in constituencies where the supplementary polls took place, yesterday, in Nasarawa State.
Voters were seen at their polling units as early 7.45 am waiting for INEC officials in most of the polling units visited. At Makera Polling Unit of Angwan Rimi Ward, the only voting point where the rerun was held, many voters were seen waiting on the queue to vote.
The INEC had, on March 10, declared the result of Keffi East Constituency inclusive. SDP candidate, Abdullazi Sule, was leading his APC counterpart, Mohammed Wada, with 97 votes, while 1052 votes were cancelled.
Sule scored 7234 votes, while Wada had 7137 voters.
A voter, Bala Kabiru, expressed happiness with the orderliness of the process. “I am happy that I have just voted. I have voted the candidate of my choice,” he said.
Another voter, Mrs Sylvia Musa, said the conduct of the election was satisfactory. “I voted around 8: 40am and I am happy that I did that on time and can go home to do other things”, Musa added.
Miss Maria Aliyu, voter, said the exercise had been wonderful and expressed optimism that the exercise would be peaceful.
INEC suspends election in Brass Constituency I
INEC suspended the supplementary election into the Brass Constituency I seat following an interlocutory order of the Federal High Court, sitting in Yenagoa stopping the exercise.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the state, Pastor Monday Udoh Tom, in a statement, said the commission complied with the court order as a law abiding agency.
However, the supplementary election was held in the other two constituencies of Ogbia II and Southern Ijaw IV.
The statement read in part: “The conduct of supplementary election in Brass constituency I, ward 6, polling units 11-16 has been put on hold by an interlocutory order of the Federal High Court, Yenagoa in suit No. FHC/YNG/C5/41/2019 and dated 22 March, 2019. As a law abiding agency, the commission will inform stakeholders as soon as the court order is dispensed with in Brass constituency I.’’
Chaos in Sokoto as party bigwigs clash at polling units
A popularity tussle among chieftains of the APC and PDP at Magajin Gari Ward ‘B’ Shiyyar Danfarijo Polling Unit 005 and 009, in Sokoto North Local Council led to chaos and the supplementary election was put on hold for three hours until the police restored normalcy.
The presence of Alhaji Murtala Daniya of the PDP and two APC chieftains – Alhaji Abdullahi Hassan, a one time chairman of Sokoto North LGA and APC youth leader, Nasiru Italiya, at the polling centre, disrupted the process.
Police had to use teargas on the crowd and deployed more personnel before normalcy was restored after the election was put on hold for about three hours. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Daniya of the PDP, who was among the early voters, displayed his ballot sheet to the public, a situation that led to throwing of sand and objects at INEC officials, security men and the party chieftains.
The Presiding Officer, Mr Otu Cassius, said that they reported for election duty as early as 7 a.m and that screening and voting commenced simultaneously as there were no hitches with the card reader. Cassius, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, said the processes were well until the incident. A PDP agent at the polling unit, Alhaji Bashiru Abdulkadir, told NAN that it was right for Daniya to publicly display what he voted because even a presidential candidate did it after voting in the just concluded presidential election. However, the APC agent, Muntari Muhammad, opposed the position, stressing that it violated electoral laws and said he had lodged a complaint with the authorities.
NAN gathered that vote-buying became the order of the day at Rajiya Polling Unit 004 in Sokoto South local council. The situation led to the arrival of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Danjuma, and other security chiefs at the polling unit. ASP. Muhammad Sadiq, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), assured that the situation was under control. “In every election we expect some challenges but presently the situation is under control as you can see. “We will tackle all irregularities and maintain the peaceful atmosphere throughout the exercise, “ he said.
In separate interviews, the state Commissioner for Finance and Higher Education, Alhaji Sa’idu Umar, and Prof. A’isha Madawaki urged security agencies to remain vigilant in ensuring the success of the re-run. They expressed confidence in the overall process and urged INEC and other stakeholders to play the game by the rules.
The police directive on restriction of vehicular movements from 8 a.m to 6 p.m was flouted. The supplementary election witnessed high turnout generally, but amid security challenges, with residents calling for deployment of more security personnel. The re-run is being conducted in 135 polling units across 22 local government areas of the state to determine who wins the governorship seat.
Low turn-out in Lagos
Voters came out in trickles at Ibeju-Lekki State Constituency I, where supplementary election was held in Lagos State.
Accreditation and voting commenced at 8:00am at Polling Units 001, 003, 004, 005, and 006 of Ward 01, Ibeju Registration Area. INEC officials and materials arrived the polling units before 8:0am and the units were open at 8:00am
Security personnel, comprising Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence corps(NSCDC) and Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC) were also around to provide security in all the polling units. The voter turnout was however low as INEC officials on ground were seen waiting for voters to come out to vote.
INEC is conducting supplementary election in nine polling units of Ibeju-Lekki state constituency I for the Lagos State House of Assembly seat. The commission had declared the March 9 House of Assembly election in the constituency inconclusive because of over-voting in the nine polling units covering two Registration Areas (Ward) of the constituency. The affected polling units in Ibeju Registration Area I are polling units 001, 003, 004, 005, 006, and 009, while that of Iwerekun Registration Area I are polling units 002, 004, and 005.
Bauchi: PDP leads in results from 9 LGAs
As results trickled in from nine of the 15 local councils where rerun elections were conducted in Bauchi State, the PDP was leading the APC, scoring 2,347 votes as against 1,658 recorded by the APC.
The six LGAs where PDP was leading include Dass, Kirfi, Misau, Bogoro, Ganjuwa and Alkeleri, while the APC was winning in Katagum, Ningi and Toro LGAs.
Apart from Tafawa Balewa result, which is pending in court, from results earlier released by the electoral commission, the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, is leading his rival, the incumbent governor, Mohammed Abubakar of the APC, with a difference of 4,059 votes.
The PDP alleged midway into the polls, yesterday, that the APC was plotting to use security personnel for a mass arrest of its key leaders in Bauchi so as to put them out of circulation in order to rig the supplementary governorship poll.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan read: “The PDP leaders earmarked for the illegal mass arrest by the APC include but not limited to Alhaji Bello Kirfi, Senator Abdul Ningi, Senator Suleiman Nazif, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, Alhaji Hamza Akuyam, PDP Bauchi State Chairman, Hon. Salisu Zakari Ningi, Hon Ahmed Yerima, Hon Samaila Burgah, Hon Aminu Tukur as well as PDP leaders and agents in the 29 polling units where elections are holding in the state… Nigerians should hold the APC responsible should any harm befall any of our leaders or members in Bauchi state during and after the elections.”
Exercise peaceful in Ekiti as APC leads
The supplementary elections held in Omuo-Ekiti, in the Ekiti East Local Government Constituency I House of Assembly seat, earlier declared inconclusive by INEC, was peaceful and orderly.
SupplementaryElections: Chaos in Sokoto as party bigwigs clash at polling units
There was also impressive turnout of voters, who arrived early for accreditation, compared to what obtained during the first round of the assembly poll. Electoral officers and materials arrived on time at the four polling units.
Heavy security mounted by combined team of Police and Civil Defence prevented breakdown of law and order. The restriction placed on both human and vehicular movement by INEC was strictly enforced in the entire local government area.
The INEC declared the March 9 election in the four units of the constituency as inconclusive on account of violence.
The affected areas where the election were Ward 9 Polling Unit 3 Aya Alaafe; Ward 9 Polling Unit 8, Odo Oro; Ward 9 Polling Unit 9, Odo-Ile and Ward 6 Polling Unit 3, Ekurugbe.
The supplementary election was between Mr. Juwa Adegbuyi of the ruling APC, and the current occupier of the seat and candidate of the opposition PDP, Mr Ojo-Ade Fajana.
APC had earlier won 25 of the 26 available seats in the state House of Assembly, leaving behind only that of Ekiti East (1) Constituency, now being re-contested.
The results of the supplementary election in four polling units in Constituency 1 Ekiti East Local Government, are as follows:
Ward 9 unit 9, APC -106, PDP – 006; Oda Odo Unit APC-132, PDP-002; Ayaalafe Unit APC-145, PDP –0; and Odo Uro Unit APC- 99 PDP-01.
Result of the remaining one polling unit is still being awaited.
APC wins in Lagos, Ekiti assembly seats
In a related development, Mojeed Fatai, the APC’s candidate in the Ibeju-Lekki constituency rerun election for Lagos State House of Assembly, was declared winner of the exercise.
Rasheed Ojikutu, the returning officer for the election, announced that Fatai emerged winner after polling 9,484 votes to defeat the PDP’s Tari Oliver who got 1,901 votes.
The INEC also declared Mr. Adegbuyi Oluwajuwa of the APC as the winner of the Ekiti East Constituency 1, State House of Assembly election.
According to the INEC Constituency Returning Officer for the election, Dr Chika Asokwa, “at the completion of the supplementary elections, Oluwajuwa polled 5, 484 to defeat his opponent from the PDP who polled 3,258 votes.”
SDP shocks APC in Nasarawa
The Social Democratic Party, SDP, Candidate, Abdulaziz Danladi, won the Keffi East constituency election in Nasarawa State House of Assembly. He polled 7,527 votes to defeat his closest rival, Yahaya Atamus of the APC, who got 7,503 votes.
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