The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially presented certificates of return to Usman Ododo, the Governor-Elect of Kogi State, and his running mate, Joel Salifu. The ceremony, marked by celebrations from a massive crowd of supporters, took place at the INEC headquarters in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, on Friday.
Usman Ododo, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), secured victory in the off-season governorship election held on November 11 in Kogi State. His triumph was evident with a commanding lead, amassing 446,237 votes, while Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party trailed behind with 259,052 votes. Dino Melaye, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, garnered 46,362 votes.
In his post-ceremony statement, Governor-Elect Ododo pledged to uphold his campaign promises by building on the commendable achievements of Governor Yahaya Bello while ensuring the unity of the state. Expressing gratitude for the overwhelming support received from the people, he referred to it as a testament to the strength and unity of Kogi State.
Ododo said, “My administration will be committed to sustaining the youth and women empowerment programs initiated by the present administration. Providing employment opportunities for our young population and prioritizing education will be at the forefront of our agenda. My victory is a victory for all, and we will run an all-inclusive administration, embracing everyone regardless of tribe, religion, or political affiliation.”
The certificate presentation ceremony was attended by Governor Yahaya Bello, who encouraged the people of Kogi State to join hands with Governor-Elect Ododo in the pursuit of building a greater Kogi. Governor Bello remarked, “The election has concluded, a winner has emerged. I call on the people of the State to work towards the unity and togetherness our administration has achieved.”
Gabriel Longpet, the Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner for INEC, presented the certificates and affirmed that Usman Ododo met all constitutional requirements for the issuance of the certificates. The event marked a crucial step in the transition process, signifying the official recognition of the election results and setting the stage for the incoming administration.