Melaye accuses INEC of collusion, as APC raises the alarm of plot to truncate the victory of its governorship candidate.
As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continues collation of results of the 2023 off-cycle Governorship election in Kogi State, the People Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Dino Melaye, and Social Democratic Party (SDP), has called for a total cancellation of the exercise, alleging widespread irregularities.
They made their calls at separate press conferences on Sunday.
Primes Buiness Africa reports that residents of Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States, on Saturday went to the polls to elect their governors for the next four years.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) began Collation of the results on Sunday morning. While that of Imo State has been concluded with Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) announced as the winner, collation of results for Bayelsa and Kogi are still ongoing.
In Kogi, it is three-horse race involving APC, PDP and SDP.
Results collated so far show that the APC candidate, Usman Ahmed Ododo, has won in 12 local government areas out of 21. SDP candidate, Yakubu Murtala won in six LGAs.
Reacting to development, Senator Melaye while addressing a press conference in Lokoja, condemned the conduct of the election which according to him, was rigged in different parts of the state.
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He called on INEC to urgently cancel the election, adding that the electoral body has by its conduct, shown that it cannot be trusted.
The PDP flagbearer in the election claimed that his votes were suppressed in parts of the state.
“Yesterday in the five local governments of central senatorial districts in Kogi State, there was no election. In the end surprisingly, accreditation was done manually, the BVAS was not used.
“Prepared sheets manifested even before accreditation and evidence is all over media.
“INEC as matter of urgency must cancel the election. Many areas where I won, my agents were told there were no available result sheet to enter the result and we have evidence to back up this claims.
“As I speak to you, it is shameful that this is what our democracy has descended to.
“INEC has manifested ever than before, that they can not be trusted, they are biased, they are compromised and they can not be a neutral umpire.
“INEC officials, youth corps members were caught yesterday with prepared result sheets even before the commencement of the processes. A youth corps member was arrested with prepared result and N1 million.
“They was deliberate suppression my of my votes in Lokoja and Kogi local governments. This was deliberately done by governor Yahaya Bello and APC to make sure that even by their orchestrated arrangement, I don’t come second, because they do believe that there will be a a second ballot and they believe if there is a second ballot I have influence and tremendous support in the central and I can make an in road in the East.
“So they preferred any other person to become second,” Melaye stated.
On its part, the SDP called for the cancellation of the results of the governorship election from five LGAs in in Kogi Central Senatorial district.
A representative of the Party, David Edibo, who presented a petition at the INEC State Returning Officer at the collation centre, demanded cancellation of results in Okene, Okehi, Ogori Magongo, Adavi and Ajaokuta LGAs as well as some parts of Lokoja, alleging corrupt practices, votes buying and over voting.
He also claimed that SDP agents were not allowed to get close to the polling units in the LGAs.
Meanwhile, the APC has raised the alarm of plot to influence the outcome of the election which is currently in favour of its candidate.
In a statement by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, the party said urged INEC to protect the integrity of lawful votes of the Kogi electorate.
The statement reads: ” With the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Usman Ododo, coasting to spectacular victory in Saturday’s Kogi Guber election, we call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protect the integrity of the legitimate votes of the Kogi electorate.
“Announced and uploaded results, so far, show our Candidate maintaining a landslide lead in Kogi West and Central, with a competitive showing in Kogi East.
“We are keenly aware of intense pressure, including violent threats on INEC staff, by agents and supporters of trailing opposition parties aimed at unduly influencing or disrupting ongoing collation of results in the state.
“We urge INEC to stand fast in discharge of its constitutional duty to deliver free, fair and credible election in the state, and ensure that the freely exercised will of the Kogi electorate prevails.”