,,,,,,The All Progressives Congress, APC, swept Lagos, Oyo and Ondo and was leading in Yobe as results of the re-run and bye-elections to fill 57 legislative vacancies across 26 states in the country, trickled in, yesterday.
However, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, won the Yenagoa Constituency II re-run election in Bayelsa State.
The polls were marred by apathy, irregularities and violence in some areas.
….Although the elections were peaceful and witnessed impressive voter turnout in some states, allegations of missing election materials, invasion by thugs, attacks on electoral officers, and pre-filled election result sheets were rife.
The hitches forced the Independent National Electoral Commission. INEC, to suspend elections in 20 polling units in three states.
Indeed, the security agencies arrested many thugs who tried to disrupt polling in Plateau, Kano and other states.
In Akwa Ibom, the late commencement of voting and hijacking of election materials by hoodlums marred the exercise. The polls were held in 33 polling units in Ini/Ikono Federal Constituency, and 20 polling units in Ibiono Ibom State Constituency.
In Ebonyi, APC and PDP disagreed over the credibility of the exercise. While the PDP alleged massive vote-buying and ballot-snatching during the Ebonyi South bye-election, APC thumped up the process, saying it was free and fair.
This was as attacks by bandits, and crop-looting overshadowed balloting in Katsina State.
How APC candidates won in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, lead in Yobe
The APC won the Surulere Federal Constituency I (Lagos), Saki West State Constituency (Oyo), and Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency (Ondo) seats.
,,,,,In Lagos, INEC declared Mr. Fuad Laguda of the APC as the winner of Surulere Federal Constituency I bye-election held in six wards.
The Returning officer of the election, Prof. Ladipo Adebayo of the University of Lagos, said Laguda scored 11, 203 votes to defeat Mr. Jerry Afemighie of the PDP, who polled 278 votes.
Labour Party candidate, Adeola Adebanjo, got 240 votes.
Total votes cast was 11, 900 while 138 ballots were rejected
,,,,,In Oyo, Mr Shittu Ibrahim of the APC won the Saki West State Constituency poll after polling 13,850 votes to narrowly beat Mr. Julius Okedoyin of the PDP, who got 13,670 votes.
In Ondo, Ife Ehindero of the APC scored 35,504 votes to claim the Akoko North East/North West Federal Constituency seat. His PDP challenger, Olalekan Bada, polled 15,328 votes.
For the Yobe East Senatorial bye-election, Mr. Musa Mustapha of the APC was leading his main challenger, Mallam Ajiko in results released as of press time by INEC.
APGA’s Waikumo wins Yenagoa Constituency II rerun
However, Mr Amakoromo Waikumo of the APGA emerged as the winner of the Yenagoa Constituency II re-run election.
,,,,,,He polled 5959 votes to narrowly beat his closest rival, Mrs Ebiuwou Koku-Obiyai of the PDP who garnered 5263 votes.
Declaring the result, at INEC collation centre, Okolobiri, the Returning Officer, Prof Chris Onyema, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, said, APGA candidate scored the highest number of votes and was declared winner of the rerun poll for Yenagoa Constituency II.
It would be recalled that before ordered rerun in seven units of the constituency by the Court of Appeal the APGA candidate had 4,971 votes while PDP got 4593 during the March last year State House of Assembly election.
,,,,The votes scored by the candidates at the just concluded rerun poll were added to what they scored during last year’s election with APGA again emerging victorious
NYSC member, two other INEC ad-hoc staff held hostage
In Plateau, voters at the 052 Polling Unit, Rock Haven, Utan, Satellite market, Agwan Mata, Agaldama and others held one National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, member, Juliet Nyanga, and two ad-hoc staff hostage over the alleged refusal of INEC officials to give them sensitive materials.
The corps member said: “When I came here in the morning, I observed that the ballot papers were not complete. I was given 1,728 ballot papers for the Senate, which is complete but there was none for the House of Representatives. I complained to my SPO and I was told to wait which I did. After some time, I went back to complain and called the attention of other officials but nothing was done.
“I was not the only one in the situation but I am speaking for myself. After some time, I was given 100 pieces of the House of Representatives and told to go and start the process, that the rest would be brought. When I resumed here, I informed the people but they insisted that they would not vote.”
,,,,An INEC ad hoc staff member, Stephine Oche, said they were shouted down at the INEC office by their supervisor when they raised the issue of incomplete sensitive materials.
Protest in Enugu
In Enugu, there were protests by electorates over alleged non-display of the result sheets, particularly by people believed to be members of LP. The bye-election in eight polling units in Enugu South Urban State Constituency was yet to take place as of 11:20 am.
,,,,,,The LP is leading in the 2023 election result before the nullification of the eight polling units by the Court of Appeal that sat in Lagos State.
Those who are also believed to be members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, equally staged their protest to counter the allegation that result sheets were hijacked.
Addressing newsmen, the Senator Representing Enugu East, Senator Kelvin Chukwu said: “I was rightly informed that the election has been compromised, I’ve told INEC and that is what is causing the problem. Since INEC does not want to show the result sheets, that means there is a problem and I’ve spoken to the police and the army. My demand is that the original result sheets should be shown to the voters”
,,,,,,,The Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Dr. Chukwemeka Chukwu told Sunday Vanguard that he was surprised that the election was not taking place yet.
Candidate of the PDP, Mr. Sam Ngene, accused Senator Chukwu of causing problems, noting that the Senator is not from the constituency and wondered why he was close to the election venue.
However, LP chieftain in Enugu State, Mr. Lucky Chukwu, alleged that result sheets for Enugu South Urban State Constituency bye election had been filled before the election.
INEC suspends re-run elections in 20 polling units in 3 states
…….Meanwhile, the INEC suspended re-run elections in some constituencies due to what it described as “disruptions, irregularities and abduction of election officials.”
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, disclosed this in a statement.
,,,,,,,,The affected areas are Ikono/Ini Federal Constituency, Akwa Ibom State where election was suspended in two polling units (Village Hall, EdemUrua 003 in Ini LGA and Village Hall Mbiabong Ikot Udo 003 in Ikono LGA) where all election materials were carted away by hoodlums.
In Enugu, Enugu South 1 State Constituency, election was suspended in all eight polling units where the original results sheets were not available for inspection by voters before the commencement of polls.
In Kunchi/Tsanyawa State Constituency, Kano State, Olumekun said election was suspended in all 10 polling units in Kunchi LGA due to invasion, vandalization, and disruption by thugs.”
……..Olumekun said the decision of the Commission aligned with the provisions of Section 24(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“Further necessary measures for the affected constituencies will be announced after the Commission’s meeting on Monday (tomorrow).
“INEC invites the security agencies to investigate the incidents, while the Commission commits to thoroughly interrogating any breaches involving its officials,” he added.
,,,,,Police arrest seven thugs in Yobe
In Yobe, the state Police Command in collaboration with the Nigerian Army intercepted an 18-seater bus carrying political thugs in Gashua LGA heading to Damaturu to disrupt the electoral process.
The Public Relations Officer of State Command, DSP Dungus Abdulkareem, in a statement, said a military checkpoint intercepted the bus.
He added that the seven arrested suspects claimed they were recruited to serve as agents of one of the opposition parties in the state.
Gov Buni hails exercise
….Nevertheless, the Yobe East Senatorial by-election in Gulani, Gujiba, Busairi,Tarmuwa, Gaidam, Yususari and Damaturu lLGAs was held amid tight security.
Governor Mai Mala Buni after voting at his Bulturi 004 polling unit in Gujiba LGA, expressed delight over the turnout of voters.
“I am overwhelmed by the level of INEC’s preparedness and also acknowledge the huge turnout of voters. Gujiba was one of the communities that was resettled after its displacement by the insurgency,’’ he said.
Attacks, crop looting overshadow poll in Katsina
In Katsina, violence and bandits’ attacks cast a shadow over the rerun elections in some of the polling units across Kankara and Sabuwa LGAs.
Local sources reported five people killed in two polling units within Kankara LGA on Friday night, three in Ungwar Kela and two in Yan Bene. Also, the hoodlums reportedly stole over 100 bags of grains from Ungwar Kela during the election eve-onslaught.
,,,,,Local sources said the assailants arrived in over 50 motorcycles and strategically used some members to guard the area while others transported the stolen produce.
Attempts to reach the Katsina Police Command spokesperson and the Kankara LGA chairman for confirmation were unsuccessful.
Danmusa LGA also reportedly experienced similar……attacks between Wednesday and Friday, with over 300 bags of grains stolen and residents forced to evacuate due to safety concerns.
……..They expressed frustration with the limited response from security forces due to challenging road conditions. Residents are appealing to the state government for a “robust security team” to protect them from these recurring threats and enable them to return to their communities safely.
Police arrest thugs allegedly hired to disrupt poll in Kano
,,,,,,,,In Kano, the state Police Command said it arrested dozens of thugs allegedly hired to disrupt the rerun election in some parts of the state.
Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Usaini Gumel,who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen, said the thugs who were arrested with arms alleged that they were hired by a politician contesting in the election.
……..The thugs were arrested around the Kunchi/Tsanyawa area, one of the constituencies in Kano State where the rerun election is taking place.
CP Gumel said: “We saw a truck that was faulty by the roadside. We saw people in large numbers by the roadside. At first, they gave us the impression that it was the fuel of the vehicle that got finished. But upon close observation, we saw them in possession of arms.
“One Abdulrazaq Muhammad aka Mai Salati, from Kano Municipal told us one Gwarmai who is contesting in the area invited them over. We will get the Gwarmai to know if he is truly a candidate contesting and why he invited them to the area. We suspect they are in the bush to ambush electoral officers while on their way with the election results,” CP Gumel added.
In Borno State, the PDP alleged massive intimidation of voters during the Chibok state constituency bye-election held to fill the vacancy created by the death of Mr. Nuhu Clerk.
……While the Deputy National Chairman, North of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Ali Bukar Dalori expressed optimism that his party would record a massive victory, the Borno State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Amos Adziba, decried massive intimidation of voters by some compromised security agencies.
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