Governorship Election: Millions To Decide The Future Of Kogi, Imo And Bayelsa States, INEC Ever Ready

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Governorship Election: Millions To Decide The Future Of Kogi, Imo And Bayelsa States, INEC Ever Ready

As the people of Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states choose their next leaders, a total of 5,169,692 registered voters are poised to shape the destiny of their respective states in the anticipated governorship elections tomorrow.

The number of registered voters closely aligns with the total number of permanent voter cards collected for this crucial democratic exercise.

Delimitation data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) show that the states have a total of 5,409,438 registered voters, while 5,169,692 permanent voter cards (PVCs) were collected by the voters.

In Bayelsa State, 1,017,613 permanent voter cards were collected, Imo State voters collected 2,318,919 PVCs while in Kogi State the figure is 1,833,160.

Although there are fears of likely voter apathy amid tension in the state’s political landscape, the security agencies have given strong assurances about the safety of all voters.

The election will be conducted in 56 local government areas across the three states.

This is the first time that the Commission will be conducting three off-cycle governorship elections simultaneously across different geo-political zones.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this was made possible by the coincidence of the end of the tenure of the current holders of the offices which falls within the constitutional timeframe of not earlier than 150 days or later than 30 days before the expiration of their terms of office, as enshrined in Section 178(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

He also assured Nigerians that the electoral body had done everything possible to guarantee that the weekend’s election is free, fair and credible.

Yakubu, however, urged stakeholders, particularly, the political actors to give peace a chance and allow all its preparations to come to fruition.

Yakubu gave the assurance while delivering a goodwill message at the signing of the Peace Accord by political parties and candidates for the Imo State governorship election under the auspices of the National Peace Committee held in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

In Bayelsa State, the election will be held in eight local government areas which are Sagbama with 138,832 voters, Kolokuma/ Opokuma, 65,364, Yenagoa, 218,394, Ekeremor, 137,225, Ogbia with 119,571, Southern Ijaw, 184,401, Nembe 99,035, and Brass, 94,040 voters.

Also, there are two polling units with no registered voters.

In Imo State the election will be held in Ideato North Local Government with 86,905 accredited voters, Orsu, 57,721, Oru West, 71,183, Oru East, 85,902, Oguta, 95,287, Ohaji Egbema, 107,456, Orlu, 103,223, Ideato South, 79,310, Nkwerre, 59,899, Njaba, 64,068, Isu, 55,203, Nwangele, 55,808, Isiala Mbano, 99,149, Okigwe, 76,250, Onuimo, 36,548, and Ehime Mbano, 79,212 voters.

Others are Ihitte Uboma, 52,108 accredited voters, Mbaitoli, 153,283, Ikeduru 119,987, Ahiazu Mbaise, 98,887, Obowo, 68,690, Owerri Municipal 134,194, Owerri North, 134,557, Aboh Mbaise, 111,207, Ezinihitte Mbaise, 91,595, Owerri West, 140,242, and Ngor Okpala, 102,048.

In Kogi State, Yagba West has 51,234 voters, Yagba East, 53,436, Mopa Moro, 26,827, Ijumu, 66,482, Ogori Mangogo, 17,688, Kabba/Bunu, 87,162, Lokoja 157,248, Okehi, 94,456, Adavi, 114,663, Kogi. K.K. 63,342, Bassa, 69,376, Omala 74,537, Dekina, 187,881, and Okene, 151,243.

Others are Ajaokuta 96,504, Ofu 101,964, Ankpa 180,095, Idah 64,519, Galamela Odolu 77,577, Olamaboro 105,864 and Ibaji 90,556.

A total of 649 registration areas had been designated for the gubernatorial elections. Also, across the three states, 10,510 polling units are prepared for voters to cast their ballots.

The total number of permanent voters card collected by local governments in Bayelsa State are: Sagbama 134,867, Kolokuma/Opokuma 62,144, Yenagoa 201,490, Ekeremor 128,683, Ogbia 118,940, Southern Ijaw 182,659, Nembe 97,328 and Brass 91,502.

In Imo Ideato North 83,04, Orsu 49,779, Oru West 71,106, Oru East 84,173, Oguta 95,200, Ideato South 78,703, Orlu 102,116, Njaba 57,874, Nkwerre 58,540, Nwangele 53,965, Isu 53,993, Isiala Mbano 95,108, Okigwe 72,940, Onuimo 35,822, Ehime Mbano 77,459, Ihitte Uboma 50,744, and Mbaitoli 152,371.

Others are Ikeduru 114,009, Ahiazu Mbaise 94,176, Obowo 63,739, Ohaji Egbema 102,212, Owerri Municipal 120,586, Owerri West 137,032, Owerri North 124,919, Ngor Okpala 93,068, Aboh Mbaise 108,536 and Ezinihitte Mbaise 87,708.

Also, In Kogi, the total number of Permanent voter cards collected by the Local Government is Yagba East 47,511, Yagba West 47,296, and Kabba/Bunu 81,091, Kogi. K.K. 60,524, Mopa Moro 21,565, Lokoja 147,257, Bassa 68,699, Omala 69,388, Ijumu 61,546, Окені 91,977, Adavi 113,024, Ogori Mangogo 15,822, Dekina 184,264, Ajaokuta 91,188, Ankpa 164,514, Okene 149,085, Ofu 93,823, Idah 62,193, Igalamela Odolu 72,700, Olamaboro 101,017 and Ibaji 88,676.

Surprisingly, 40 polling units have no registered voters, 38 in Imo State and 2 in Bayelsa State, raising concerns about voter participation and engagement in these specific locations.

Similarly, the summary released by the nation’s electoral body shows that a total of 130,093 party polling unit agents (PUAs) and 7,841 collation agents were submitted to INEC by political parties.

In summary, the All-Progressives Congress (APC) deployed 2,242 polling unit agents for Bayelsa, 4,721 for Imo, and 3508 for Kogi. They also deployed 114 collation agents for Bayelsa, 332 for Imo, and 261 for Kogi. The People’s Democratic Party deployed 2,242 PUAs for Bayelsa, 4,721 for Imo and 3,508 for Kogi and the Social Democratic Party deployed 2,242 PUAs for Bayelsa, 4721 for Imo and 3,508 for Kogi.

For the 2023 governorship election, 16 political parties, and 16 governorship candidates comprising 14 male and two female candidates will slug it out in Bayelsa.

In Imo, 18 political parties, and 18 governorship candidates, comprising 18 males and one person with a disability, will compete in Imo polls, while in Kogi, 18 political parties, 18 governorship candidates comprising 17 males and one female candidate will contest in the election.

The incumbent Bayelsa governor, Douye Diri (PDP), will face a stiff contest from former governor, Timipre Sylva (APC) who himself was a governor under the PDP before later defecting.

Meanwhile, Kogi State elections have been a major spectacle for observers and commentators due to the zonal makeup of the state as well as the voting power of each zone in a largely heterogeneous state.

Since 1999, the zonal representation in Lugard House has been Kogi East (16 years), Kogi Central (8 years), and Kogi West (0 years). This is the crux of the current push by politicians from Kogi West Senatorial district to have one of their own come in as governor.

Following the primaries within the state, APC, the ruling party, is presenting Ahmed Usman Ododo (Kogi Central) as its gubernatorial flag bearer. The SDP has presented Alhaji Murtala Agaka (Kogi East) as its gubernatorial flag bearer while the PDP (Senator Dino Melaye) and the ADC (Hon. Leke Abejide) have presented candidates from Kogi West as their candidates. This has made the elections take on primordial sentiments as grounds for voting for the candidates.

Kogi state has had a steady voter turnout of between 37 percent and 39 percent in the last three elections. Kogi East has the largest number of registered voters (51 percent in 2023) while Kogi West comes in second.

The low turnout of voters in the past was attributed to the fear of violence at the polls.

APC controls the current State House of Assembly with 23 out of 25 seats.

On insecurity, there has been a consistent trend of violence in the Kogi elections. In the March elections, there were allegations of kidnap of INEC staffers who were conducting constituency collation in Lokoja.

The candidate of the SDP had on the 3rd of June and on two occasions in July escaped assassination attempts.

The candidate of the PDP had also recently held a press conference where he called on security forces to act on intelligence reports of threats to the lives of his supporters.

Candidates have also complained about state government hindrances to the use of billboards by charging exorbitant prices.

The outcome of this election, with millions of voters participating, will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the leadership and governance of Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa.

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