From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa, Gyang Beere, Jos, Lukman Olabiyi
The Independent Natioanl Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) won in Lagos, Bauchi, Imo, Kogi, Plateau, Kogi while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged victorious in Bayelsa and Cross River states in last Saturday bye-election.
The poll in Zamfara State was, however, declared inconclusive.
INEC conducted 15 bye-elections spread across 11 States. The bye-elections involved nine state House of Assembly seats and six senatorial seats.
The results of all the House of Assembly seats have been declared, except for Bakura State Constituency in Zamfara State, which was declared inconclusive.
The Commission had suspended the polls earlier scheduled for October following the violence in many parts of the country, resulting from the #EndSARS protest.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has said the results showed that the APC remains the chosen party of Nigerians.
Buhari, according to his media aide, Garba Shehu, assured that confidence of the people on the party will not be taken for granted and “we will not fail them.”
He said: “Nigerians who appreciate the efforts of the administration in making life better for all citizens, especially under an economy facing the severest test from the global Coronavirus pandemic will not be disappointed.
“We thank them immensely for their trust in the party and government.”
Reacting, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the victory of candidates of the APC was a vote of confidence in the party.
Sanwo-Olu said this when he spoke with State House correspondents during the visit of the Senator-elect for Lagos East Senatorial district, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru.
He congratulated Abiru and the APC candidate for Kosofe State Constituency II, Mr. Obafemi Saheed.
The governor advised the two newly elected lawmakers to continue with the tradition of excellent representation that Lagos legislators were known for.
Abiru polled 89,204 votes to defeat Babatunde Gbadamosi of the PDP who secured 11,257 votes.
Saheed polled 12,494 votes to beat his rival, Mr. Sikiru Alebiosu of PDP, who got 2,068 votes in Kosofe II Constituency.
Sanwo-Olu said APC’s victory with wide margin in the by-elections was a sound testament to the confidence the people of Lagos State had in the party.
APC wins Kogi, Imo
INEC also declared Mr. Egbunu Atule of the APC winner of the Ibaji state constituency in Kogi.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Rotimi Ajayi, said Atule polled 8,515 to Mr Daniel Enefola of the PDP who scored 4,565 votes.
Six other political parties including SDP, AA, ADC, AAC, APM and NRM, also fielded candidates.
The election was conducted to fill the seat which became vacant owing to the death of Mr John Abah of APC in June.
Similarly, APC won Okigwe senatorial by-election.
The returning officer, Mr Hakeem Adikum, said the APC polled 36, 811 votes, while PDP came second with 31,903 votes.
However, the commission did not return a candidate from the party.
Adikum said APC won in Okigwe, Onuimo, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano and Ihitte Uboma while the PDP won in Obowo LGA.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Imo, Prof. Francis Ezeonu, said the commission was unable to return a candidate from the APC as winner.
He explained that this was as a result of what he described as “several Court orders” for and against the two major contenders, Frank Ibezim and Ifeanyi Araraume, a former senator.
Two Court judgments had surfaced on Friday, one from the Court of Appeal, Owerri, and another from the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Court of Appeal faulted the judgment of the Federal High Court, Owerri, which had nullified the candidacy of Ibezim and declared him candidate while sacking Araraume barely 24 hours to the election.
The Federal High Court, Abuja had on the other hand declared Araraume as candidate of the party, on the grounds that Ibezim presented fake certificates to the APC and INEC.
Accept defeat, Bauchi gov tells PDP supporters
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has appealed to PDP supporters to accept defeat in the Dass constituency as the the will of God.
The governor, in a statement by his media aide, Mukhtar Gidado, urged party faithful not to be divided by what he called a temporary setback.
Mohammed said the loss was a lesson for all, adding that as warriors, both his government and the party needed to plan to regain their lost ground with chivalry, tactics and teamwork.
“All praises and adoration belong to Allah. The loss of our party is a lesson for all of us, but no one is to be blamed.
“Remember that we lost 21 House of Assembly seats and the Senate seats in 2019, but Allah gave us victory in the gubernatorial election.
“Let us not play to the gallery by indulging in blame game, internal rancour, accusations and mistrust,” he said.
INEC had declared Bala Lukshi of the APC winner.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Ahmed Mohammed of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi, said the APC candidate polled 12,299 to defeat Lawal Wundi of PDP who scored 11,062 votes.
PDP wins in Cross River
The electoral umpire also declared the candidate of the PDP, Dr. Stephen Odey, winner of the Cross River North senatorial district.
The Collation Officer, Prof. Ameh Akoh of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ikwo, Ebonyi, who announced the result, said Odey scored 129,207 votes to defeat eight other candidates.
Akoh said the candidate of the APC, Mr Joe Agi (SAN) scored 19,165 votes to emerge second while the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mr Gregory Agam, scored 388 votes.
The senatorial by-election followed the death of Rose Oko.
The party’s candidate, Mrs Maria Akwaji, also won the Obudu State constituency seat in the House of Assembly.
Akwaji obtained 32,166 votes to defeat Abor Adaji of the APC who scored 3,546.
Akwaji is the widow of the late Goodwin Akwaji who died in July in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.By the result, she takes over the seat of her late husband as member representing Obudu State Constituency
Ex-gov, Dickson, wins
Immediate past governor of Bayelsa State and PDP’s candidate, Seriake Dickson, has been declared winner of Bayelsa West senatorial district.
Dickson polled 115,257 votes in Sagbama and Ekeremor local government areas to defeat former speaker, Peremonowei Ebebi of the APC, who polled 17,541 votes.
Prof Ekechukwe Okeke, Dean of Faculty of Humanity, Federal University of Otuoke, who was the INEC Returning Officer, announced the result and declared Dickson winner.
Meanwhile, Governor Douye Diri proved the dominance of the PDP as he won the local government, Kolokuma/Opokuma for the party’s candidate in the Bayelsa Central bye-election.
The result collated by the Collation Officer, Dr Abiodun Adelegan indicated that out of the 26,831 accredited voters, PDP candidate, Mr Moses Cleopas polled 20, 992 votes while Mr Abel Ebifemowei of the APC polled 4, 980 votes.
In Yenagoa, results collated by Prof Chris Onyeama indicated that Cleopas Ebifemowei polled 54,390 out of the 61,911 accredited votes. Rejected votes were 591 while total votes cast was 60, 855.
Zamfara poll declared inconclusive
Two ad-hoc members of staff recruited by INEC as presiding officers for the state House of Assembly by-election in Zamfara have been declared missing.
Prof. Ibrahim Magawata, the Returning Officer for the election which was to fill the vacant seat of Bakura constituency, has also declared the exercise inconclusive.
The election was conducted in the 10 wards of Bakura Local Government, but Prof. A’isha Bawa, Registration Area Supervisor for Bakura Ward 001, while submitting her report at the collation centre in Gusau, announced that two INEC adhoc staff were missing.
According to Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC’s national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, the election for Bakura State Constituency became inconclusive because the 2,181-vote margin between the two leading candidates – those of the PDP (18,645 votes) and APC (16,464) – is less than the total number of registered voters in 14 polling units where elections were cancelled or not held, which stands at 11,429.
“Consequently, by the “margin of lead principle”, the election could not be declared and no winner was returned.
“Voting in the 14 affected Polling Units was marred by over-voting, abduction of staff of the Commission, violence, assault occasioning grievous hurt against INEC officials, burning of INEC materials and snatching and carting away of sensitive electoral materials, resistance to the use of smart cards readers and obstruction of the electoral process,” he said.
He said the Commission met yesterday and decided to remobilise and conclude the elections on Wednesday.
“In order to ensure that the Supplementary Election is properly secured, the Commission is considering clustering the affected Polling Units to prevent the disruptions experienced on 5th December 2020. The details will be worked out by the INEC State Office in Gusau after consultation with stakeholders.”