Gov Election: All eyes on Bayelsa as Diri maintains lead

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With winners already declared in the November 11, 2023 governorship elections in Kogi and Imo states, all eyes are on Bayelsa State as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plans to announce the final results of the poll today (Monday).

Results from six of the eight local government areas (LGAs) in Bayelsa have been collated as of Sunday evening when the state Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, adjourned collation till Monday noon. Results from Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Yenegoa, Sagbama, Nembe and Ekeremor LGAs are out while those of Brass and Southern Ijaw are expected today.

Kuta, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, said the results of the two remaining LGAs of the riverine state were still being expected from the coastal areas.

Sixteen political parties sponsored candidates for the election in Bayelsa. Governor Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s main opponent is a former Minister of State For Petroleum Resources and an ex-governor of the state, Timipre Sylva.

Sylva, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the poll, was first Bayelsa governor from May 2007 to April 2008 and later between May 2008 and January 2012. So far, PDP’s Diri has won five of the eight local government areas in the state with APC’s Sylva clinching a local government. The PDP candidate is leading his APC counterpart with over 60,000 votes but results from Brass and Southern Ijaw can change the game in favour of the ex-minister.

Meanwhile, protests broke out in many parts of the state on Sunday over allegations of voter intimidation, voter suppression, and vote buying across the state, especially in Nembe Bassambiri, where many voters said elections did not hold. The two major gladiators have also traded words, accusing each opposing camp of electoral violence.

Like Bayelsa, governorship polls were held on Saturday in Imo and Kogi states. Already, a winner has been declared by INEC in Imo with Governor Hope Uzodimma of APC defeating Samuel Anyanwu of the PDP, Labour Party (LP)’s Nneji Achonu, and 15 other opponents. Uzodimma polled 540, 308 votes to defeat his closest rivals, PDP’s Anyanwu, who scored 71,503 votes and LP’s Achonu who got 64,081.

For Kogi, APC’s Usman Ododo won with 446,237 votes, defeating his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who scored 259,052, while Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 46,362 votes. Ododo, an ex-Auditor General of Local Government in Kogi under Governor Yahaya Bello, was the anointed candidate of the governor who is ending his double terms of eight years.

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