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Feb 25, March 18 elections’ ghosts haunt supplementary exercise

Feb 25, March 18 elections’ ghosts haunt supplementary exercise

As the results of the supplementary elections held in 2,660 polling units in 185 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across 24 states of the Federation are trickling in, BusinessDay reports that the ghosts of February 25 and March 18 elections haunted the exercise yesterday.

Our correspondents who were on ground in some locations reported massive deployment of thugs by politicians, vote buying, ballot box snatching, among other malfeasance.

In Adamawa State, where a supplementary election was held for the governorship position, police officers attached to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office reportedly barred journalists from entering the state collation centre in Yola.

Journalists, who were already accredited for both presidential and gubernatorial elections, were shocked when they were turned away by policemen.
According to them, they have their lists of accredited journalists which they said they would later call to enter the collation centre.

There was also reports that there was an attempt to move the INEC collation centre from the bank road to Dougerei.
This led to a series of protests by the PDP supporters who vowed to resist any attempt to tamper with the governorship election results.

As of the time of filing this report, some of the collation officers were already in the collation centre while the sorting of votes was in progress.

BusinessDay SUNDAY also gathered that there was serious vote buying by leading political parties in the Ogbaru Federal Constituency supplementary election in Anambra State.

The three leading political parties in the election also allegedly unleashed thugs in various parts of the local government, where the election is being conducted.

Many voting centres visited by our correspondent within the local government, witnessed huge influx of thugs, in spite of the massive deployment of security officials, including Police, Navy and Army personnel.

At Manus Primary School, Okpoko Ward 6, suspected thugs, said to be working for the one of the party’s candidate in the election, swooped on journalists who were riding in a vehicle with government number plate, suspecting them to be agents of the ruling party in the state, All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA).

Also, at Okpoko Ward 3, polling unit 004 at St Luke’s Anglican Church, agents of two leading parties were seen in their camps, where they were making payments to voters who voted for their parties.

In Oredo East, Edo State, it was observed that most persons, including traders opened their shops and, according to them, it was better to sell their wares than to go to the field to cast their votes that “will not count.”

“Is there election today?” Sarah Okosun, a frozen food seller, asked indifferently.

Another trader, Chibuike Okeke, said, “After the one we did the last time, you don’t expect people to show concern about voting. People are not bothered. We voted for someone and they gave us another person like we do not have a voice of our own. The only people that are voting for now are those that came for the money.”

Read also: Crimes during 2023 general elections in Nigeria

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that supplementary elections were held in 2,660 polling units in 185 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across 24 states of the Federation.

INEC had during the February 25 and March 18 elections declared some governorship, National Assembly and state assemblies’ polls inconclusive and directed a rerun.

Our correspondent in Adamawa reported that the re-run witnessed a massive turn out of voters in most of the polling units in the state capital, Yola.

But the story was not the same for Numan communities of Bolki ward where election materials arrived late and voters had to wait until around 1 pm before electoral materials arrived.

Meanwhile in Kano State, INEC declared Murtala Muhammad Kadage of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), as winner of Garko State Assembly seat in Kano.
Suleiman Mudi, of Bayero University Kano, INEC Returning Officer, announced him as the winner shortly after the re-run election held in three polling units across the local government area on Saturday.

Also, INEC has declared Ibrahim Bomai of All Progressives Congress (APC) as the senator-elect for Yobe South.

Bomai is the incumbent senator representing the constituency in the upper chamber of the National Assemly.

INEC Returning Officer, Abatcha Melemi of the Federal University Gashua, made the declaration in Potiskum.

Melemi stated that Bomai scored 69,596 votes to defeat Halilu Mazagane of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 68,885 votes.

He said that Yerima Adamu of ADC scored 652 votes, while Jauro Ishaku of LP scored 471 votes.

Melemi said that Isa Musa NNPP scored 3,277 votesd while Maisambo Barde of YPP scored 448 votes.

“I, Abatcha Melemi, the returning officer for the 2023 Yobe South senatorial district election, held on April 15, declares;

“That Bomai Ibrahim Mohammed of the APC having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared as the winner and is returned elected,” he said.

INEC also declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former member of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Diket Plang, as winner of the Plateau Central Senatorial election.

INEC Returning Officer, Jima Lar, announced the result on Saturday in Pankshin LGA, the headquarters of the Plateau Central Senatorial zone after the review of the February 25 National Assembly elections.

Lar said that Plang scored a total 131,129 votes to emerge the winner of the election, adding that Yohanna Gotom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second with 127,022 votes, while Garba Pwul of the Labour Party came third with 36,510 votes.

He said that Plang having scored the highest number of votes at the election and having satisfied the requirements of the law was declared the winner of the Plateau Central Senatorial zone election.