LAGOS — AS leaders of the All Progressive Congress, APC, celebrate their historic conquest of Bayelsa State and fresh mandate in Kogi following weekend’s governorship polls, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the opposition to go to court, if they were not satisfied with the results.
Amid high-wire intrigues and horse-trading, Chief David Lyon of the APC trounced the Governor Seriake Dickson-backed Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Bayelsa. But for what PDP stakeholders lamentably saw as an insistence on Diri against another party stalwart, the PDP would have had a better performance. A source, who preferred anonymity, disclosed to Vanguard last night that top PDP leaders such as former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Peter Obi, former President Olusegun Obasanjo were said to have tried to manage the issue to no avail.
Also, Governor Yahaya Bello of the APC withstood the opposition mounted by Engineer Musa Wada of the PDP to retain his plum job in spite of his alleged poor performance so far. His road to victory was paved by the desire of Kogi West to return to the Government House as soon as possible of which his second term is the shortest route.
Kogi West for a long time had wanted their son to at least be at the Executive arm of government and see Bello who has only one term left as a quickest gateway to their power shift ambition. This immensely accounted for the success APC recorded in the senatorial district where it polled 79,899 of the 136,142 votes cast, representing 59 percent. APC won five out of the seven council areas.
This is the first time the PDP is losing governorship election in Bayelsa since the return of democracy in 1999. In a power-play that saw the bulk of Bayelsa elite gravitating towards APC, Lyon won six of the eight local councils of the state scooping a whopping 352,552 votes while Diri of the PDP scored a miserly 143,172 votes.
APC won in Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Nembe, Brass, Yenagoa and Ogbia local councils. Former President Good luck Jonathan hails from Ogbia. On the other hand, the PDP cornered Sagbama where Dickson hails from and Kolokuma/ Opokuma local councils.
In Kogi, Bello polled 406,222 votes; Wada scored 189,704 votes; and Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, came a distant third with 9,482 votes.
Bello won 12 of the 21 local councils and recorded 25 per cent of the votes cast in all the 21 LGAs.
Total registered voters is 1,646,350; total accredited voters 636,202; total valid votes, 610,744; rejected votes 13,770; and valid votes cast, 624,514.
The APC candidate won five of the five council areas in his senatorial axis, five out of seven in Kogi West and two out of nine council areas of Kogi East.
Announcing the result, the Returning officer for the election, Prof. Muhammed Umar, Vice Chancellor of Ahmedu Bello University, Zaria said Bello, having polled the highest votes and satisfied all the electoral requirement is hereby declared winner of the Kogi 2019 governorship election.
Diri, Wada reject poll outcomes
However, Engr Wada and Senator Diri have picked holes in the results. Diri, who bandied figures he said were monitored by PDP’s situation room in the eight local councils, said he won the the poll and should be so declared by INEC. Summation of the figures he supplied showed that he polled 227,440 votes compared to Lyon’s 106,908 votes.
In like manner, Wada rejected the Kogi election results and vowed to seek redress at the tribunal. According to him, what happened in Kogi was not an election but a “declaration and execution of war against the people.”
Diri and Wada kicked as Bello said his election is victory for true democrats in Kogi; and Lyon extended the olive branch to his opponents and promised to form an inclusive government to move Bayelsa State forward.
Indeed, Lyon, Chief Timipre Sylva and other APC leaders in Bayelsa, yesterday visited former President Jonathan (a leader of the PDP) in recognition of his position as the father and leader of the state.
Meanwhile, the INEC has declared the Kogi West senatorial election inconclusive and will announce date for a supplementary election in 53 polling units where elections were cancelled or not conducted. The 53 polling units have 46,127 registered voters.
At the final collation on Sunday night, the APC candidate, Senator Smart Adeyemi had won five out of the seven council areas with 80,118 votes against the PDP candidate, Dino Melaye who scored 59,548 votes. Adeyemi is leading with 20,570 votes.
Go to court, Buhari tells opposition
Congratulating Bello and Lyon on their victories, President Buhari urged those who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the governorship elections to approach the courts.
He described Bello’s re-election as “a race well run and a victory well won,” and that of Lyon in Bayelsa as an “impressive victory.”
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, the President condoled with families and loved ones of those who lost their lives as a result of regrettable acts of violence by thugs doing the bidding of their political sponsors.
He said: “All political actors and stakeholders must take deliberate steps to eschew electoral violence as a peaceful and orderly process is vital to our quest for enduring democracy.”
The President also commended officials of the INEC and security agencies for creditably discharging their responsibilities under difficult conditions.
He urged Governor Bello to see his renewed mandate as another opportunity to build on the foundations already laid towards improving the lives of the people of Kogi State.
He also enjoined the governor to imbibe the spirit of magnanimity in victory by extending a hand of partnership to opposition candidates.
Condemning the loss of lives in Bayelsa, particularly prior to the election, the President said: “Violence during elections vitiates our commitment to demonstrate to the world and upcoming generation that we are a people capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.”
He noted that while officials of the INEC and security agencies did their best within the ambit of the law to ensure free, fair and credible elections, but it was unfortunate that pockets of unrest, mostly sponsored by desperate politicians, were recorded during the poll.
President Buhari said he looked forward to working with the incoming government to improve the lives of the people in Bayelsa State. He urged the Governor-elect to carry other divergent interests along in the next phase of governance, and implored those not satisfied with the outcome of the poll to seek redress through the constitutionally established channels.
PDP should accept defeat with grace – Presidency
Indeed, the Presidency yesterday advised the PDP to stop crying wolf and disparaging the electoral commission whenever it loses elections but to accept defeat with grace.
The Presidency also called on the supporters of the APC to show dignity in victory, and all Nigerians to remain peaceful in the wake of the elections.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu further called on PDP to learn to be democrats, adding that everyone must come together to build a brighter future for Nigeria.
The statement read: “Predictably, we have seen the accusation of fabricated results from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. Yet, the only fabrication is PDP’s conduct. It has now become standard procedure for the party to challenge any poll that does not return its candidates. Election is good when the PDP wins. The opposite is the case if any party other than the PDP wins.
“Democracy is not only about who wins or who loses, but also about the process. In disparaging every unfavourable result, they disgrace themselves by casting aspersion on the entire system.
“The February 2019 election saw the loss of five APC governors. The government accepted the results. In doing so, we realised that we did not win the argument in those contests, and so we didn’t win enough votes.
“We retired to assess what went wrong: were we responsive enough to the electorate needs and priorities? How can we improve on speaking to the nation’s hopes? We got ready and prepared ourselves well for the next contest. The result is a healthier, more rigorous election.”
‘’In rejecting the results as PDP has done, this reflection does not happen. Instead, the electorate gets mudslinging. Improvement is not sought, but cries of victimization; this is not an atmosphere in which democratic debate can thrive. Opposition strategy of attacking the electoral commission, security agencies, government at the centre and the person of President Buhari after each election loss is antithetical to healthy democratic norms.’’
My victory for true democrats in Kogi – Bello
Governor Bello while thanking the people of Kogi State for voting for him, described his reelection as victory for true democracy.
The governor in a statement by his Director General, Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, said: “This victory is for Kogi people that value true democracy. And we can assures that Governor Bello will not abandon his campaign slogan which expresses his desire to do more for Kogi people.
“We thank Kogites who voted for us. We also thank Kogi people who did not vote for us; they have challenged the governor to do more for them to earn their confidence.’’
He urged the Pdp to embrace spirit of sportsmanship by accepting the verdict of Kogi People.
Why I’m rejecting the result – Wada
Addressing journalists at the PDP national secretariat, Abuja, yesterday, Wada condemned what he called the free use of guns by people bent on truncating democracy at all cost.
He said: “We are going to the tribunal to pursue this to a logical conclusion. What happened in Kogi was an organized war against democracy, a coup against the people and seizure of power through brigandage and the barrel of the gun with members of the Police and other security agencies
coordinating the stealing of the people’s votes.
“The police aided armed All Progressives Congress thugs to invade polling units with impunity, to cart away ballot boxes to government facilities where results were written in favour of APC and handed over to the Independent National Electoral Commission to announce against the will of the people.
“Police helicopters were used to attack polling units, fire tear gas on voters and provide cover to APC hoodlums and policemen who brutalized the people of Kogi state and stole their mandate.
“The APC turned our state into a theatre of war. No fewer than nine innocent Nigerians were killed. Many more were maimed and injured in their desperation to seize power at all cost.”
Let’s form an all-inclusive govt, Lyon tells opponents
On his part, Chief David Lyon lauded Bayelsans for their overwhelming support during the governorship election and said his victory is for all Bayelsans because it will salvage them from the shackles of guided oppression and internal colonialism.
In a statement, Lyon said: “Bayelsa is one family, and no individual or group of persons irrespective of their political affiliations or standards can separate us from our collective destiny.”
Extending his hands of fellowship to his closest rival, Senator Douye Diri of the PDP, and other contestants to join him form an all-inclusive government, he said: “There is no victor no vanquished in politics. We will not segregate ourselves from each other because of political differences. We must unite and move forward together, that is the next level agenda. We must integrate our state to the mainstream politics to attract rapid development into our state.”
Form formidable team of experienced persons, Igali urges Lyon
Former Permanent Secretary and stalwart of the PDP, Ambassador Godknows Igali, congratulated Lyon and urged him to consider putting together a formidable team of experienced persons with good character to place development of the state on a fast lane.
Igali gave the advice in a statement.
“Open your heart wider and larger than you have ever done, and reach out to all other candidates across political parties. Rightfully, they have all invested in diverse ways in this political process which has produced you as the Chief Servant of the people and a first among equals. In particular, are the candidate and leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, your closest contenders. You must reach them embracingly. It is important therefore that you look across party lines, all strata of society and put together teams of men and women with good character and temperament and with requisite experience and skills to support in drawing up a road map for you.
“This transcends manifesto of the APC and your campaign team to include the hopes and aspirations of the greater people of the state. The best journeys undertaken in life are often those commenced with clear road-map and compass,” he said.
I won Bayelsa governorship poll — Douye Diri
Meanwhile, Senator Douye Diri, has said that he won the election called on the electoral umpire to declare him winner.
Senator Diri while briefing newsmen in Yenagoa, said that the results monitored by his party’s situation room in the eight local councils showed in clear terms that he won and should be declared the governor-elect of Bayelsa State.
The PDP governorship candidate who announced 98,582 as the figure scored by the PDP said the APC got 55,903. Giving a breakdown of the figures, he said the PDP scored 4,096 in Brass while APC got 2,525. In Ogbia, it was PDP-9,903 and APC 7,976, while in Southern Ijaw, the PDP scored 12,225 and APC got 9,542.
Senator Diri who announced that in Yenagoa, the PDP polled 21,165 said the APC scored 15,560, while in Sagbama, the PDP got 60,339 and APC had 7,831.
He explained that the PDP polled a total of 21,381 in Ekeremor, while the APC scored 8,780.
Also in Kolokuma/Opokuma, he noted that the PDP had 12,110 and APC 6,659 while in Nembe, PDP polled 24 and APC had 908 votes.
He maintained that it was illegal for the APC to have contested the governorship election because of a subsisting court judgement and urged INEC to disqualify the APC.
He stressed that he did not contest the election against the Candidate of the APC, David Lyon, who was returned winner by INEC as the party had already being disqualified by the court before the election.
The PDP’s agent, Chief O.O. Osusu, said there were two subsisting court judgements before the conduct of the November 16 Governorship election, stressing that it was wrong for the APC to be on the ballot.
In separate speeches, governorship candidates of the Green Party, Eniye Zidougha, APGA, Fayeofori Bob-Manuel, Okiah Jones of Masses Movement of Nigeria as well as several other candidates lampooned INEC for declaring Lyon winner.
According to them, despite obvious irregularities including the use of the Nigerian Army to intimidate voters and subvert the will of the people, the electoral body still went further to announce the results.
The candidates challenged INEC to produce the court order which cleared the APC to participate in Saturday’s governorship election.
APC, Oshiomhole hail Jonathan over Bayelsa poll
The APC, yesterday commented former President Jonathan for his disposition on the outcome of the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa State, saying that the former President was delighted with it.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the presentation of the Governor-Elect, David Lyon to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Chairman of the APC Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu said that former President Jonathan was happy with the outcome of the election.
He said: “We were in Bayelsa for over 72 hours, we didn’t see a tire burning, we didn’t see people running, we didn’t hear any gunshot and everyone was celebrating in all the areas we passed since yesterday (Sunday) which shows acceptance of the candidate of our party, and of the process itself.
“It is equally noteworthy that Bayelsa is a state which is home to a former President of Nigeria and this election won by a party different from the one he belongs to has been accepted by all including people around him. So far, from what we hear and what we see, he is also happy with the outcome irrespective of the difference in the party which is an indication of the transparency of the process. “
Also speaking, National Chairman of APC, Comrade Oshiomhole said they presented the governor-elect to President Buhari because “as the President and our father, he has a brand new baby boy who will be sworn- in on Valentine Day February 14, 2020, as governor of Bayelsa State. We thanked the President for his fatherly role and he insisted that we must ensure that while we are determined to win the election that we must play by the rule and ensure that the process is transparent.
“Above all the President has always been concerned about peaceful election and we were proud to inform him that besides very isolated cases of ballot box snatching, the election in Bayelsa can be described as the most peaceful.”
APC thanks Kogi people for ignoring PDP’s ethnic politics
Also, the APC has thanked “the good people of Kogi and Bayelsa states over the party’s resounding victories in the governorship elections”, saying it was appreciative of the decision of Kogi people to ignore the ethnic politics of the PDP.
The ruling party said “the PDP must begin to address itself to the new reality that votes are beginning to count. PDP’s retrogressive tactics of massive thumb printing, ballot box snatching, vote buying, thuggery, violence and other illegal schemes will no longer win elections for them”.
While congratulating its “teeming supporters and members for the hard-fought and well-deserved election victories”, the APC equally said its victory in Bayelsa was very significant as it broke the chains of PDP’s decades of retrogressive rule.
“In Kogi, our great party is delighted that the good people of the state ignored the propaganda and clannish campaigns of the opposition and reelected our candidate, Governor Yahaya Bello. We cannot thank the Kogi electorate enough.
“Our Party’s victory in Bayelsa State is even more of a landmark. Against all odds and in defiance of the established but retrogressive political order since 1999, Bayelsans decided through their votes to overwhelmingly elect our governorship candidate, David Lyon.
“Bayelsans decided to ditch the disastrous regime of the Peoples Democratic Party and pitch their tent with a progressive platform. This a sacred trust our candidate and party will not take for granted”, the APC said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu.
IYC hails Lyon
The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, worldwide while feting Lyon on his victory said it is a manifestation of the wishes of the people of Bayelsa State and by extension the Ijaw nation.
The Eric Omare led IYC in a statement in Yenagoa called on other contestants who lost out in the contest to join hands with the Governor-elect in the interest of the Ijaw nation. ‘’We also call on the outgoing Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, who is a strong advocate of the Ijaw interest to support the Governor-elect in the interest of the Ijaw nation.’’
Why we visited Jonathan — APC leaders
Shortly after the INEC declared Lyon as winner of the election in Bayelsa, he alongside Sylva and other APC leaders visited Dr Jonathan in Otuoke.
They said they visited former President because Jonathan deserved to be respected and honoured by all Bayelsa people, irrespective of their party leanings.
“Being a former president of the country and a past governor of the State, Jonathan remains an asset to the state and his inputs will always be needed to advance the course of governance in the Bayelsa.
“As such it was important for us to introduce the governor-elect to him and seek his support and guidance in building a better Bayelsa,” Lyon he said.
Responding, Jonathan tasked Lyon to put the welfare and interest of the Bayelsa people above every other issue.
“As a former president of Nigeria, I am a father to all Bayelsans, hence my doors are open to all citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.
“I urge you to make the welfare of Bayelsa people a top priority and carry all of them along irrespective of the party they voted for.
“Elections are over now, so I want you to see yourself as the governor of all and not only to the sections that voted for you. This is the way to move Bayelsa forward,” he stated.
Jonathan also condemned the violence in some parts of the state during the elections, describing it as unfortunate and regrettable.
He said the nation’s democracy would never mature if violence and irregularities during elections continued.
Akeredolu, Oyetola greet Bello, Lyon
Chairman of the South West Governors Forum, and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu congratulated his Kogi State counterpart, Bello on his re-election, and Chief David Lyon over his victory in the Saturday governorship election.
Governor Akeredolu in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) Ojo Oyewamide said: “The outcome of the elections in the two states have once again deepened the APC in the hearts of the people. It is particularly heart-warming that my good friend and brother, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is returning as Governor of Kogi State.
“For Chief David Lyon, the Governor-elect of Bayelsa State, his emergence is a major turning point. Although Edo State had blazed the trail for long, the journey to plant the seeds of our great party in the Niger Delta has not been easy, understandably. But the Bayelsa feat is a great leap. All those who toiled to bring to fruition, this comforting berth deserve commendation. This, undoubtedly, is the needed elixir for our great party to take firm roots in the Niger Delta.’’
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State spoke in like manner.
Oyetola, who is a member of the Bayelsa State All Progressives Congress Governorship Campaign Committee, also noted that the victory is a clear indication of Nigerians’ preference for the ruling party, owing largely to its pro-people policies and programmes at the various state levels and even at the centre.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, the governor maintained that the spate of election victories in favour of APC in recent times was a clear evidence of the huge trust and confidence people have in the party, its policies and developmental programmes both at the Federal and state levels.
The governor described the victory as a sweet one and noted that with Bayelsa now in the kitty of the APC, it has put paid to the long-held sentiment that APC is a party that had no foothold in the South-South.
He also congratulated the good people of Kogi State for returning Bello for another term of four years.
Makinde expresses disappointment over conduct of Kogi poll
However, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, yesterday, expressed disappointment over the conduct of the Kogi governorship election.
The governor said this while flagging-off the commencement of work on the Moniya-Iseyin road project at Moniya in Ibadan, Governor Makinde said all the electoral stakeholders must put hands on deck, noting that the election as conducted in Kogi State was not the type that could help the country’s democratic journey.
He said: “My reaction is that I think that our aspiration, as a country, is still very far apart from our effective reality. That is the summary of my reaction.
“All of us need to work really hard to ensure that our effective reality is as close as possible to our aspiration.
“This is not the kind of election that we want to have in our democracy, so all of us as stakeholders including INEC, politicians and the people, we all have to come together and ensure that we get the kind of democracy that will respect the wishes and will of the people.”
“My hotel was truly attacked but it was repelled and I am here now. There is no scratch on my body and I thank God for that.”
Insist on prosecution of electoral offenders – Falana charges CSOs
Meanwhile, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, has charged Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country to ensure that electoral offenders in the Bayelsa and Kogi elections face the law.
Falana made the call in a remark at press conference on the November 16, 2019 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Election Analysis Centre (EAC).
Falana, who lampooned major players in the said elections said that the government will not do anything about it, unless the CSOs take it upon themselves to bring all the perpetrators of violence in the elections to book.
“The way we are going with people losing confidence in the electoral process, if we continue that way, there may be no democracy tomorrow,’ he said and expressed shock at the quick response of the President in congratulating the alleged winners of the elections, which he said left much to be desired.
“As of this morning, President Buhari has congratulated the winner of the election in Bayelsa. And same time the president condemns the violence that marred the election in Bayelsa. It is high time that civil society organizations sat down to down to ensure that the criminal elements subverting the democratic process in Nigeria were brought to book. The government will not do it, from your reports you have detailed information on the perpetrators of electoral violence.”
“CDD should coordinate other stakeholders to pursue the electoral offenders in Kogi and Bayelsa. So that we can make a point that those who fought for current rickety democratic process will not allow it to be derailed,” he said.
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