The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi state inconclusive.
According to results declared by the Returning Officer, Emmanuel Kucha (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi), Abubakar Audu of the All Progressives Congress scored 240,867 while Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party garnered 199,514 votes.
Mr. Kucha said the margin of votes between Messrs Audu and Wada is 41,353. And that the election was inconclusive because the total number of registered voters in 91 polling units, in 18 local government areas, where election was cancelled is 49,953.
That figure is higher than the 41,353 votes with which Mr. Audu is ahead of Mr. Wada.
The returning officer said by INEC guideline, no return could be made for the election until supplementary election is held in areas where election was cancelled.
Before the technicality over cancelled votes were brought to the fore, many media establishments, including PREMIUM TIMES, had declared Mr. Audu winner of the election.
The APC candidate had prevailed over his Peoples Democratic Party’s counterpart in 21 local government areas in the state, scoring 41,353 more votes than him.
The local governments won by Audu are Ofu, Ida, Kabba Bunu, Yagba East, Yagba West, Adavi, Koton Karfi, Ankpa, Okehi, Ajaokuta, Ijumun, Olamaboro, Igalamela, Bassa, Lokoja, and Ibaji.
The PDP was victorious in five local governments namely Ogori Mangogo, Omala, Okene, Dekina and Mopa-moro.
If Mr. Audu is eventually pronounced winner after a yet-to-be scheduled supplementary election, he would be returning as governor of the state 12 years after he was defeated by the PDP as he sought a second term.
He is being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, of misappropriating N11 billion of the state’s funds while he was governor between 1999 and 2003.
Mr. Audu has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
At the trial of the corruption case on March 4, the EFCC also accused Mr. Audu of ordering one of his aides to assault Haruna Ashade, an EFCC operative, for daring to take his photograph in court.
But despite his ongoing corruption trial, the former governor emerged winner of the APC governorship primary held in Lokoja on August 29.
He polled 1, 109 votes to beat his closest rival, Yahaya Bello, who scored 703 votes.
If sworn in as governor after the supplementary election, his trial would have to be suspended as he would be covered by constitutional immunity from trial for the four years he would be in power.
Source: Premium Times