The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has ordered fresh elections in some polling units in Kogi State following reports of irregularities during the governorship election held on November 16, 2023.
The most critical incident occurred in nine out of 10 Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area (LGA) wards, where result sheets were completed before voting. Similar incidents were reported in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okehi, and Okene LGAs.
According to Section 69(1) of the Act, where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is satisfied that there were substantial irregularities or malpractices in an election in a polling unit, it shall declare the election in that polling unit void.
Section 69(2) of the Act further provides that INEC shall conduct fresh elections in the affected polling unit within 14 days of the void election declaration.
A total of 17,396 voters were affected by the irregularities. This represents a small fraction of the 782,289 voters who participated in the election overall.
Even if the 17,396 were added to the votes for SDP or PDP it will have no affect on the outcome of the election.
– Ahmed Usman Ododo (APC): 446,237 votes
– Murtala Yakubu Ajaka (SDP): 259,052 votes
– Dino Melaye (PDP): 46,362 votes
INEC has stated that fresh elections will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2023, in the affected polling units. The decision is subject to the Returning Officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle.
The Commission has also assured voters in Kogi State that their votes will continue to count and their wishes will be respected.
Impact on the Outcome of the Governorship Election
The fresh elections are unlikely to impact the outcome of the governorship election in Kogi State significantly. The affected polling units have a combined total of 17,396 registered voters, representing less than 1% of the total electorate in the state.
The outcome of the governorship election is likely to be determined by the results in the remaining polling units. The candidate who can mobilize their supporters and ensure a high turnout in the unaffected polling units will likely benefit most.
Implications for the Electoral Process
The irregularities that occurred in the Kogi State governorship election raise concerns about the integrity of the electoral process in Nigeria. INEC must address these concerns and ensure that future elections are conducted freely, fairly, and credibly.
The fresh elections in Kogi State will be an important test of INEC’s ability to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.