From UMMULKHAIR AKIBU, Abuja
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has been re-elected as the governor of the state.
Governor Bello was returned elected on Monday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), having scored the highest number of votes in the keenly contested poll.
The Returning Officer for the election and Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Umar, made the declaration at the INEC office in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
The APC candidate polled a total of 406,222 votes to beat his closest rival, Mr Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 189,704 votes.
On her part, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Natasha Akpoti, garnered a total of 9,482 votes.
Professor Umar declared the winner following the collation of results from all 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, an exercise that lasted more than 24 hours.
After several hours of collating the results from 19 LGAs, Professor Umar had announced on Sunday night that the exercise would continue on Monday morning.
Of the results collated before the exercise was suspended, it was a close battle between Bello who won 10 LGAs and Wada who claimed nine LGAs while Natasha had yet to win any local government.
At the resumption of the exercise, the results of the remaining two local governments – Ibaji and Lokoja – were collated, paving the way for the declaration of the winner of the election.
Announcing the final results of the election, the returning officer noted that a total of 1,646,350 people registered for the election while 636,202 were accredited to vote.
He explained that the margin between the winner of the election and the runner-up was 216,518 votes.
Meanwhile, PDP’s governorship candidate Mr. Musa Wada has rejected the election results saying it was not a correct representation of what happened during the election and will probably head to court.
Wada maintained that the whole exercise was a daylight robbery as results were written everywhere for the APC.
“It is better for the government not to in the first place conduct the election when it knows it will not reflect the wishes of the people,” he said.
Wada also accused the Kogi Commissioner of Police, Akeem Busari, of relocating to Dekina collation centre to influence the elections in favor of the APC.
Similarly, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Natasha Akpoti, has called for the outright cancellation of the election.