SDP’s Ajaka accuses INEC of manipulating Kogi poll, says won’t go to court

THE candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the just concluded November 11 governorship election in Kogi state, Murtala Ajaka, said he would not challenge the election result in court.

Ajaka said that INEC had cheated the state’s voters by ‘manipulating’ the election results to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate.

He said this while appearing on Channels Television’s “The 2023 Verdict” programme, on Sunday night. 

The SDP candidate added that going to court to contest the poll’s outcome would be a waste of time, claiming INEC would come as a witness to defend the poll result.

“What am I going to court to do when the same INEC that did this will come as a witness to defend what they did? So it is a waste of time,” he stated.

He added, “You allowed me to waste my time, spend my money, mobilise my people, only for you to write the results.”

He said that by allowing the result to stand, INEC called for chaos in the state.

The ICIR reported that INEC declared the APC candidate, Ododo, winner of the election Sunday night.

Ododo, a former auditor-general of local governments in the state in the administration of the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello, defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dino Melaye, and his SDP counterpart, Ajaka, by a wide margin.

He polled 446,237 votes, Ajaka won 259,052, and Melaye garnered 46,362 votes.

Eighteen candidates participated in the exercise.

The INEC, through its returning officer in the state, Johnson Urama, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, declared Ododo the poll winner.

Both Melaye and Ajaka rejected the election and called for its cancellation while it was ongoing on Saturday.

The INEC confirmed the malpractices and ordered fresh elections in the affected locations on Saturday, November 18.

However, the commission said the fresh election was subject to the returning officer’s decision on applying the Margin of Lead Principle, which implies that if the margin of lead in the election is more than the number of registered voters in the polling units where the election is yet to hold, the returning officer could declare the candidate with the highest votes the winner.

With Ododo’s declaration as the winner, the election will no longer occur.

Bello’s tenure expires on January 26, 2024, when Ododo is expected to take the oath of office.

The election in Kogi is one of the three off-cycle governorship polls held on Saturday.

The other two states having the election are Imo and Bayelsa.

The ICIR reported Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello boasting after casting his vote in his hometown of Okenne that his party’s candidate, Ododo, would win the election.



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