June 7, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

UPDATE: How it is going in the off-season governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi


IT is 14.33 hours Nigerian time as residents of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states today vote in off-cycle elections to re-elect two governors, and a new one.
In Imo and Bayelsa, the incumbents are seeking re-election, while Kogi State is set to elect a new governor.
The All Progressives’ Congress (APC) aims to maintain power in Kogi and Imo states, while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will strive to retain power in Bayelsa State.
Bayelsa has historically been a PDP stronghold since 1999 and quickly regained power after losing it in 2019 due to a Supreme Court verdict.
Governor Douye Diri, running for a second term under the PDP, faces major challengers: former Governor Timipre Sylva of the APC and Udengs Eradiri of the Labour Party (LP).
In Kogi State, the electorate will vote for a new state leader as Governor Yahaya Bello exits office after two constitutional terms.
APC candidate Kogi, Ododo Usman Ahmed, endorsed by the incumbent, competes against Murtala Yakubu Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dino Melaye of the PDP, and Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
In Imo, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cleared 17 for today’s governorship election.
Leading the pack are Governor Uzodimma (APC), Samuel Anyanwu (PDP) and Labour Party’s Athan Achonu.
Here are situation reports from these states as events unfold this hour:
Suspected thugs storm polling units, hijack electoral materials in Bayelsa
Election materials have reportedly been taken by armed thugs who broke into poll units in Sagbama local government area of Bayelsa State and shot sporadically into the air.
A news reporter says he gathered that voting materials were destroyed at Agorogbene, units 6, 7, and 8 in Ward 11 of the local government, at around 09.00 hours today.
Incidentally, this local government area is one of those mentioned by security personnel as being volatile.
Sources say that when voters attempted to confront the armed men, they were met with a barrage of gunfire.
Owerri-West LGA, Imo State sees large turnout of voters
Reports from here speak of a large turnout of voters, compared to Owerri Municipal LGA. A few minutes past 11.00 hours, many voters were seen in a queue to exercise their franchise.
INEC officials say all the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) devices functioned optimally. Officials say no challenges were encountered or envisaged.
Imo State commissioner for lands, survey and physical planning Noble Atulegwu tells reporters that the turnout was impressive at TTC polling units 7 to 12 and 24, Ward 10, Irete, Owerri-West LGA. TTC Irete has a total of 5,890 voters.
At Owerri City School, Ikenegbu, Ward 06, 3,619 voters in four polling units – 005, 006, 007 and 008. In Unit 008, no voters on ground after two hours despite INEC officials’ arrival.
Kogi, a different story
A result sheet is said to have emerged before the commencement of voting at Open Space, Eni Ogori IV Polling Unit, Ogorimagongo local government area, Kogi State.
But, APC candidate Usman Ododo is saying election is peaceful, orderly, after casting his vote. He commends INEC for doing well.
“I commend INEC management for how far it’s going and as you can see the election is peaceful and orderly.”
In Bayelsa, election materials were said to have arrived early in Yenagoa. At the Amarata Ward 6 in Yenagoa LGA, a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has said that activities started at 7:30 a.m. as materials were being distributed to polling units within the ward.
Similaye Jonah, an ad-hoc staff on election duty, says to the NAN reporter that materials left the Registration Area Centre (RAC) earlier at 08.00 hours.
Kogi, the challenges
Most places around Lokoja metropolis encountered late arrival of officials and materials.
INEC had announced that materials and officials were expected to arrive at their centres/polling units by 6:00 a.m.
Places like Adankolo, Lokongoma and Kpata encountered similar challenges.
Cornelius Stephen, a civil servant that came from Kano to vote, expressed disappointment with INEC, which had assured timely distribution of materials and arrival of officials at polling units across Kogi.
“This election is different from what we experienced on Feb. 25 and March 18 elections.
“You can see that it’s 7:40 a.m. already, yet only security personnel are around here at St Luke Primary School, Adankolo within Lokoja 1 Ward A,” he said.
However, INEC officials for the ward arrived at 8:15 a.m. and moved to their various polling units.