Adamawa, Abia, and Enugu protests as INEC suspends election results

Adamawa, Abia, and Enugu protests as INEC suspends election results
Adamawa, Abia, and Enugu protests as INEC suspends election results

EU: The 2023 election lacked transparency and undermined public trust in INEC. Sani, Sule, Oborevwori, Fubara, Yusuf, and other winners were declared.

Yesterday, protests against the Independent National Electoral Commission erupted in several areas as a result of some voters’ unhappiness with how the gubernatorial and state assembly elections were handled (INEC).

Voters were incensed by the electoral body’s delay tactics in disclosing the results as well as the claimed disparities between the election results signed by party representatives and what was uploaded to the INEC portal.

The European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria’s 2023 general elections stated that due to a lack of transparency and operational shortcomings, Nigerians have lost faith and trust in INEC as the post-election crisis gained momentum.

The Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, said that although Nigerians had a tremendous desire for democracy and were eager to participate in various civic activities, their expectations were disappointed during a press conference yesterday in Abuja to present the Mission’s second preliminary reports. He claimed that failings by political elites and “sadly, INEC” were the direct cause of the apathy seen at the gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections held last Saturday.

Despite efforts by civil society to advance democratic standards, obstruction, and organized violence hindered voters’ ability to freely express their opinions, according to Andrews.

“During the Mission, we observed that Nigerians are eager to participate in a variety of civic activities and have a strong desire for democracy. Yet, these aspirations were not fulfilled in many areas of the nation. Many people were dissatisfied, and we saw voter indifference, which is partially the obvious result of mistakes made by political elites and, regrettably, also by INEC.

In advance of Saturday’s elections, INEC made several positive changes that enabled prompt transmission of sensitive materials and better use of election technology, but the institution’s lack of openness persisted.

The Mission also noted that voting had begun early, with INEC special officers present and prepared to assist voters, but regretted that “several incidences of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists” had caused the process to be disrupted.

The Mission noted that the Southern, Northern, and Central parts of the country—Lagos, Kano, and other States—were the most affected and that the election was also marked by fatalities, casualties, and vote-buying, which, in the observers’ opinion, further detracted from appropriate conduct of elections.

“EU EOM observers also saw the misappropriation of administrative resources, particularly through a variety of monetary and in-kind incentives to voters, providing the ruling party an unfair advantage. Additionally, the lengthy deadlines for candidacy disputes left voters and candidates for office uncertain, and the clear underrepresentation of women among candidates revealed a glaring absence of internal party policies to support inclusion as required by the constitution, which was also in violation of Nigeria’s international commitments to end discrimination against women, according to the Mission.

However, the Commission ruled that the governorship elections in the states of Kebbi, Enugu, Abia, and Adamawa were invalid because thugs stormed the collation centers in Abia and Yola.

According to INEC, the alleged party thugs surrounded the center and barred access to anyone outside. The deadlock resulted from the local council election in Fufore.

There is a contest between Aishat Dahiru Binani, the sole female candidate for governor in the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the incumbent governor and PDP candidate.
INEC stated that the decision to halt the collation of governorship results in Abia and Enugu was made in response to thugs’ invasion of the Commission’s headquarters on Sunday in the Abia state’s Obingwa Local Government Area.

The Commission added that collation should be suspended pending a review of the results from the two uncounted LGAs in Enugu, Nsukka, and Nkanu East, for the governorship election.

Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and INEC Chairperson of the Information and Voter Education Committee made this revelation in a statement on Monday.

The Commission convened today, March 20, 2023, and discussed how the countrywide gubernatorial and state assembly elections that were held on March 18, 2023, went. During the discussion, the Commission decided to immediately halt further collation of the governorship election results in specific areas of the states of Abia and Enugu.

“As you may recall, yesterday, March 19, 2023, thugs broke into our office in the Obingwa Local Government Area and took our officials, hostage, over the collation of results from the Local Government Area. The results of the governorship election from the two unresolved Local Government Areas, Nsukka and Nkanu East, are also being called into question, according to sources from Enugu State.

“As a result, the Commission today suspends the collation of results in the Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State and the two uncollected Local Government Areas of Enugu State. Before the process is finished, a review will be conducted.

As the delay persisted, riots broke out in Enugu State when PDP and LP supporters stormed INEC’s headquarters in protest of the allegedly rigged outcome of Saturday’s governorship election.

While the PDP reported voter intimidation and harassment in Nsukka local council, the LP had complained of overvoting in Nkanu East local council on the grounds that the region returned over 30,000 votes in favor of the PDP candidate, Peter Mbah, against the 7,000 accredited voters by the BVAS. Around 30,000 votes were also cast in favor of Chijioke Edeoga, the LP candidate, in Nsukka.

Yesterday, the dust-to-dawn curfew imposed by the state administration was threatened with brutal punishment by the KANO State Police Command.

In a statement released by SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, the command’s spokesperson, the police issued the warning.

Police claim that Nigeria’s eagerly anticipated general election of 2023 is now over. It claimed that the current security worry is with how people are celebrating the election result.

The fact that the individuals celebrating are inclusive of all people, regardless of political opinions, religion, or culture, should always be respected and taken into consideration.

On the basis of the aforementioned, Kiyawa urged the state’s good citizens to observe the laws governing gatherings and the commemoration of electoral victory.
Moreover, PDP supporters in the local councils of Lafia, Nasarawa, and Awe protested peacefully, alleging that INEC tipped the results in the APC’s favor.

Francis Orogu, the state’s PDP chairman, said that APC officials and security personnel colluded with them to rig the results.

The APC in Bauchi State, meantime, has challenged the outcome of the governorship election held on Saturday, which named Governor Bala Mohammed the victor.

Abdulmumini Kundak, the party’s representative at the state collation center, called the election a “sham.” The party demanded the cancellation of the results in the impacted local government areas in a letter of complaint sent to the resident electoral commissioner with the subject line: “Complaint of massive rigging, violence, and electoral malpractice, which marred the Bauchi State governorship election conducted on March 18.”

Having received 525,280 votes to Sadique Abubakar of the APC’s 432,272 votes, Governor Mohammed of the PDP was proclaimed the victor.

In the protest letter, Kundak said that PDP thugs pushed away APC party agents in the Alkaleri local council and that ballots were thumb-printed without the BVAS.

Additionally, he said that there was violence in the Toro local council and that a Department of State Service (DSS) agent was being treated in a hospital after being beaten by PDP thugs. Gunshots, intimidation, and harassment of APC members, he continued, were also reported.

The party chieftain went on to say that with enormous overvoting and violence, the same was true for Warji, Zaki, and Kirfi local councils. Kundak refused to sign the INEC Form EC8 for representatives of political parties.

Before to the publication of the results, the Kaduna State Government elevated security alert, citing intelligence information that suggested some people and groups had intentions to sow discontent and incite violence in Kaduna Metropolis and other significant cities in the state.

Samuel Aruwan, the state’s commissioner for internal security and home affairs, claimed in a statement that security authorities were looking into rumors that some specific individuals intended to stir up violence.

This came after Senator Uba Sani of the ruling APC declared Isa Ashiru of the PDP the victor of the election in Kaduna State by a slim margin.

Prof. Lawal Suleiman Bilbis, the State Collation Officer for the Gubernatorial Election (SCOGE), announced the results, stating that there were 4,335,208 registered voters in the state, 1,581,662 accredited voters, 1,546,747 valid votes cast, 19,114 invalid votes cast, and 1,565,861 total votes cast.

According to Prof. Bilbis, Ashiru received 719,196 votes, while Sani of the APC received 730,002 votes.

He claimed that Sani was “declared the winner and returned elected” since she received the most valid votes and complied with the law.

According to him, the political parties received the following numbers of votes in each state: APC: 730,002, LP: 58,283, NNPP: 21,405, and PDP: 719,196.

Ashiru won in 13 local government areas of Kaura, Sanga, Kajuru, Makarfi, Jaba, Jema’a, Zangon Kataf, Soba, Chikun, Kagarko, Lere, Kachia, and Kudan, whereas Sani won only in 10 local government areas of Giwa, Ikara, Kauru, Sabon Gari, Kubau, Zaria, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi and Birnin-Gwari.

Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State and the APC candidate, congratulated the people of the state yesterday for reelecting him to office.

After being named the exercise’s winner by the returning officer and vice-chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof. Olanike Oladiji, he spoke.

Sanwo-Olu received 762,134 votes, defeating Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party (LP), who received 312,329. Abdul-Azeez Adediran, a candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), finished in a distant third place with 62,449 votes.

“Governance and the dividend of democracy are next, and that is the pledge from me and my deputy,” he declared. As there is no victor and no vanquished, we are extending a hand of solidarity.

Pastor Dayo Ekong, the chairman of the Lagos LP, has appealed for the election to be called off while rejecting the results. The overvoting, ballot snatching, violence, intimidation, and suppression of voters, as well as thuggery, she claimed, have all tainted this election. The Labour Party in Lagos condemns this outcome and calls for its annulment, she said.

Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and PDP candidate Sheriff Oborevwori defeated APC contender Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Senate President, to win the state election.

In a hotly contested election, Omo-Agege received 240,229 votes, while Oborevwori received 360,234.

Oborevwori received the most votes and met all legal conditions, according to the returning officer, Prof. Owunari Abraham Georgewill, who is also the vice-chancellor of Rivers State University in Port Harcourt. Ken Pella, the LP candidate, received 48,047 votes to place third.

In comparison to Omo-Agege, the governor-elect prevailed in 21 of the 25 local councils.

The APC Collation Agent, Henry Efe-Duku, has, however, challenged the results, alleging widespread manipulation in the majority of polling places in the state.

Efe-Duku claimed INEC did not respect the Electoral Act in majority polling units and vowed that the APC and its candidate will dispute the results at the Tribunal while urging party supporters to remain calm and carry on with their regular activities.

Francis Nwifuru, a candidate for the APC, won the governorship election in Ebonyi State by defeating Chief Ifeanyi Odii, a candidate for the PDP, who was his closest rival.

Nwifuru received 199,131 total votes, while Odii received 80,191, according to Prof. Charles Igwe, the State Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka, who made the announcement at INEC headquarters in Abakaliki. APGA scored 52,189 votes, placing third.

Nwifuru, who also serves as Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, expressed his joy at winning and referred to state inhabitants as winners.

Senator Prince Bassey Otu, an APC candidate for governor in Cross River State, was also named the election’s victor by INEC.

With 258,619 votes, Otu defeated Senator Sandy Onor of the PDP, who received 179,636 votes, and Mr. Ogar Osim of the LP, who received 5,957 votes, to win 15 out of 18 local council elections.

The INEC Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of Federal University, Otueke, Bayelsa, Prof. Teddy Charles Adies, announced the results yesterday at the state collation center. He said: “I have the honor to declare Otu Bassey Edet, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected.”

Umar Mohammed Bago, an APC candidate for governor, defeated PDP opponent Isah Liman Kantigi to win the election in Niger State.

Kantigi received 387,476 votes, while Bago received 469,896.

Bago received the most votes and met all requirements to be declared the state’s next governor, according to Professor Clement Alawa, the state’s returning officer and the University of Abuja’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), who announced the results of 25 local council elections.
Abdullahi Sule, an APC candidate and the governor of Nasarawa State, was also named the contest’s victor by INEC.

According to the state’s returning officer, Dr Ishaya Tanko, David Ombugadu of the PDP, who received 283, 016 votes, came in second to Sule with 347, 209 votes.

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State won the election for governor with 545,543 votes, while Mohammed Ali Jajari of the PDP received 15,601 votes. This was another victory for the APC.

The votes were obtained in all 27 of the state’s Local Government Areas.

Zulum completed the legal conditions, according to INEC Returning Officer Prof. Jude Rabo, and was therefore declared returned and re-elected.

According to Rabo, there are 2.51 million registered voters overall, and 650, 533 of those voters were recognized throughout the exercise.

He claimed that 649 855 people cast ballots in the election.

The Governor won the election in 2019 with 1.2 million votes, which shows a decline of 664, 457 votes from last year’s elections.

Lawyer Caleb Mutfwang was named the victor of the governorship race in Plateau by INEC. He ran using the PDP platform.

Mutfwang received 525,299 votes in total, according to the election’s returning officer, Prof. Idris Amali, defeating Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda of the APC, who received 481,370 votes. Dr. Patrick Dakum, an LP candidate, finished third with around 60,000 votes.

According to Prof. Amali, Mutfwang satisfied all legal conditions and was therefore pronounced the winner.

Benue State Governor-elect Rev. Fr. Hycienth Alia is from the APC.

In Benue state, a Rev Fr. named Hycienth Iormem Alia was proclaimed the victor of the 2023 governor’s race.

Alia satisfied the legal conditions, according to the Returning Officer, Faruk Adamu Kuta, who announced the results at the INEC office in Makurdi on the Jonah Jang Crescent.

In 22 of the 23 local government councils where elections were held, the APC candidate received 473, 933 votes, followed by the PDP’s Engr. Titus Uba, who received 223, 913 votes, and the LP’s Herman Hembe, who received 41, 841 votes, according to Kuta. With 1, 187 votes, professor Bem Angwe of the NNPP finished fourth.

Elections in the Kwande LGA have been rescheduled until (today), Tuesday, March 21, 2023, due to an error in the production of the ballot papers.

In total, 156, 826 voters in Kwande local government have reportedly obtained their PVCs, according to INEC. With a vote margin of 250, 020, Alia is ahead of his nearest rival, guaranteeing the victory of the APC even if all the votes in Kwande were cast for the PDP.

The Returning Officer reported that 768, 402 total votes were cast, of which 756, 903 were valid and 11, 499 were rejected.


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