Parties’ chances in Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa governorship elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) holds off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo state tomorrow, November 11.

While approximately five million registered voters in the three states are expected to vote, 18 political parties are jostling for each state’s governorship seat. 

The elections are part of off-cycle polls in eight states organised by INEC. In February and March, Nigeria held its general elections that brought in a new President and 28 governors, of which 17 were newly elected while nine were re-elected for a second and final term.

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The elected candidates were sworn in on May 29.

Despite not fully participating in the general elections, the states with off-cycle elections still elected lawmakers to represent them at the National Assembly, comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives. They also voted for their House of Assembly members.

However, the tenure of the current governor of Imo state expires on January 14, 2024, while the governors of Kogi and Bayelsa states expire on January 26, 2024, and February 13 of the same year.

The ICIR reported the top candidates in the three states competing for the state governorship seat.

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In this report, The ICIR examines the chances of political parties to win the governorship seat. This assessment is based on the parties’ performance in the National Assembly and State House of Assembly elections held in the three states in February and March. 

Results of lawmakers’ elections

Kogi state…

According to INEC data, despite having 1.9 million registered voters, only 1.8 million people collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to elect 25 members into the state’s House of Assembly members and nine National Assembly members in Kogi state in the last general elections.

The result of the state House of Assembly poll shows 22 candidates from the All Progressive Congress (APC), two candidates from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and one candidate from the African Democratic Congress (ADC) won.

Similarly, six candidates of the APC were elected into the House of Representatives, while ADC had two seats and PDP picked one. The APC won two seats in the Senate, and PDP secured one.

Bayelsa state…

In Bayelsa state, 1.1 million people registered for the election, but only one million collected their PVCs.

Of the 24 seats in the state’s House of Assembly, PDP won 17, APC got five, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) grabbed two. However, PDP occupies all five seats in the House of Representatives and three in the Senate.

Imo state…

Imo state has 2.3 million eligible voters with PVCs out of 2.4 million registered voters. The APC claimed 25 seats in the state House of Assembly, while the PDP and Accord Party (AP) shared the remaining two seats.

The PDP and APC won four seats apiece in the House of Representatives, while the LP secured two. At the Senate, APC has two seats while LP has one.  

The projections

All elected lawmakers are expected to canvass for votes for their respective parties from their local government or senatorial district. By this, political parties with the highest number of lawmakers stand a better chance of winning the governorship seat if voting follows the same pattern as the last general elections.

Using this as a benchmark, the addition of all lawmakers in each state would mean that Kogi state has 37 lawmakers, Bayelsa state has 32, and Imo state has 40. The ICIR divided the total number of lawmakers by each political party.

Kogi state 31 3 3
Bayelsa state 5 25 2
Imo state 31 5 3 1

The result showed that APC has 83.8 per cent chance of winning the election in Kogi state, more than 17 other political parties contesting for the seat. Also, in Imo state, the APC has a 77.5 per cent chance of winning the governorship seat, more than 16 other candidates contesting for the office.

Meanwhile, in Bayelsa, the PDP has a 78.1 per cent chance of winning the election more than 15 other candidates contesting for the seat.



    ‘Public engagement, still a concern’

    The Head of Election Programme, YIAGA Africa, Paul James, said that based on the experiences and outcome of the general elections, residents of the three states and INEC were approaching the elections with caution.

    James added that his team was briefed from the states that INEC staff were being attacked at public events. This practice, he said, was capable of jeopardising the elections if not curbed.

    He said, “We are beginning to see, in the states with off-cycle elections, different levels of engagement and approaches as to how people see INEC. In Imo state, for instance, there was this public perception that their votes were stolen,” in the last elections and results released by INEC did not reflect their votes.

    However, James noted that the commission was more engaging with the voters in Bayelsa and Kogi. The ICIR reported the ordeal of voters in the last elections and the violent attack on voters, claiming 28 lives.

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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