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Senators divided over outcome of Kogi election

The Senators under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday, November 20, rejected the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship election results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Federal lawmakers, led by the Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, announced the rejection at a news conference in Abuja.

INEC had declared the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), David Lyon and Yahaya Bello, winners of the gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States.

“We want to call the attention of Nigerians. We are very disturbed by the elections that were held last weekend in Bayelsa and Kogi,” the lawmakers said.

“We totally reject the pronouncements after the elections by INEC and we are worried about the trend of what happened during the election.

“We know that the results that were announced were not a true reflection of what happened in the field.

“We are much more concerned about the fact that it seems that all the gains made by the PDP in all the period of democracy starting in 1999 seem to have been eroded from the elections starting in Osun, Edo and culminating into last weekend.

“We are further pained by the fact that the PDP woman leader, Salome Abuh, after declaration of result, hoodlums still chased her to her house and burnt her to dead in the clear view of security agents.”

The caucus called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to immediately fish out the killers of Mrs Abuh.

“We hear that the police are launching an investigation but this is something we don’t want to be put under the carpet because it involves life,” Mr Abaribe said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki, in his reaction to the outcome of the Bayelsa and Kogi gubernatorial elections said: “I don’t think it will be right for the Senate to say anything about the election.”

“Nigeria is not a lawless country and we must obey it. The Electoral Act has spelt out everything that there should be primaries between aspirants in political parties so a candidate will emerge.

“After the primaries, INEC will set aside a day for general election. Based on the Electoral Act, the elections have come and gone. If anyone has any grievances, they know what to do,” he said.

The minority leader said the elections indicated that the democratic achievements made by the PDP administration since 1999 are being upturned.

However, the elections seem to have left the Senate divided as spokesman of the upper legislative chamber, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, had a different opinion.

In his own reaction, Akwashiki said the elections have been conducted as the country’s Electoral Act stipulates and anyone that has grievances regarding the outcome “knows what to do”.

Meanwhile, Newsflash247 had earlier reported that Senator Melaye threatened to report Governor Bello and other politicians in Kogi state to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the alleged violence that occurred during the senatorial and governorship election in the state.

Melaye, who is currently battling to get re-elected in the National Assembly, is trailing his opponent, Smart Adeyemi in the Kogi west senatorial district rerun poll. But the lawmaker, in a post on Twitter on Tuesday, November 19, said what occurred in Kogi state was more of a civil war than an election.

Newsflash247 also reported that Melaye has stormed the Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday, November 20 to express his dissatisfaction on the conduct of the Saturday election in which had reported incidences of violence and malpractice against him, his party-PDP and supporters.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the re-run election as inconclusive because the margin of win was less than the total cancelled votes.

Melaye, a former chairman, Senate Committee of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was received by the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by INEC Secretary, Mrs. Rose Oriaran-Anthony and National Commissioner/Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye.

Melaye, who came with 21 video clips, which he said contained details of violence and indiscriminate shootings by alleged agents of Kogi state government, with the connivance of security agents, told journalists that his determination to retrieve the stolen mandate “is a battle of no retreat, no surrender.”

He said his nephew and 15 others were killed by hoodlums allegedly sponsored by the APC and the state government.

The five-page petition by Melaye addressed to the INEC Chairman was dated November 18, 2019 and titled: “A call for cancellation of the Election for Kogi West Senatorial District held on November 16 2019 in certain areas”, was filed by his lawyer, Tobechukwu Nweke.

The petition reads in parts, “We have enclosed herewith 21 copies of video discs which captured wide spread violence, gunshots and killings, disruption of the election, snatching of ballots, multiple thumb printing, several electoral malpractices and irregularities and a total sabotage of the electoral process all of which marred the election to the Senate of Kogi West Senatorial District.

“Our client implores the Commission to study painstakingly, the events captured in the said video discs which reveal that election was not conducted in the senatorial district and to cancel the entire election to the Senate of Kogi West Senatorial District held on 16th November, 2019.

“Sequel to the abovementioned spread violence, gunshots and killings, disruption of the election, snatching of ballots, multiple thumb printing, several electoral malpractices, irregularities and total sabotage of the electoral process cut across all the seven local government areas in Kogi state which were demonstrated in the video footages attached herein, and the facts in paragraphs 1-5 above which reveals that the election was not conducted in Kogi West Senatorial District, in substantial compliance with the dictates of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) as well as the requisite Guidelines and Regulations issued for the election we urge the commission to cancel the entire election to the Senate of Kogi West Senatorial District held on November 16 2019.”.

Okoye who received the petition on behalf of Prof. Yakubu, said the commission would look into the petition and take necessary action, assuring that the commission remains non-partisan.

INEC National Commissioner/Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Mr. Festus Okoye (middle) acknowledging receipt of a petition on Kogi West election from Senator Dino Melaye (right), with Secretary to the commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony (left) on Wednesday in Abuja.

The commission, which had earlier said that it would later announce a date for supplementary election in the area, added that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Smart Adeyemi, scored 80,118 votes while the PDP candidate, Senator Dino Melaye, scored 59,548 votes.

According to the Returning Officer, Prof. Olayinde Lawal, the margin between the candidate of the APC and Melaye is 20,570 and lower than the 43,127 registered voters in 53 polling units of 20 registration areas in the zone where elections were cancelled.

On August 3, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal led by A. O. Chijiok ordered a fresh election in the district following a petition filed by Senator Adeyemi, against Senator Melaye.


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Victor Akande

Victor Akande, a blogger by profession for the past 7 years. He studied Mathematics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka Contact: +2348053316946 Twitter: @Newsflash2471

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