Leadership (Abuja)

31 March 2008

Nigeria: Idris Wins Kogi Governorship Election

kogi — Alhaji Ibrahim Idris of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 518,581 votes to emerge winner of Saturday's re-run governorship election in Kogi, INEC announced slated yesterday in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

His closest rival, Prince Abubakar Audu of All Nigerian People's Party (ANPP), received 175,978 votes; Mrs. Ramat Momoh (PAC), 1,529; and Prof. Yusuf Obaje of Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) 1,259 ballots.

The results were announced by the state's INEC resident electoral commissioner, Mr. Ayo Adakeja.

Speaking with journalists Idris said: "I thank God and the good people of Kogi State for this overwhelming result."

"In fact, this overwhelming result is dedicated to the good people of the state.

"I thank the president, all the party leaders, all my supporters and all those who worked hard to ensure that victory is ours.

"This time, I shall work even harder and more powerfully to ensure that the people get the dividends of democracy in full."

Meanwhile, the PDP national publicity secretary, Professor Rufai Alkali, has thanked all the PDP supporters in the state for coming out en-masse to vote in spite of "all odds".

"Initially, the ANPP protested against exclusion but now we have proven our might democratically,'' he said.

Prince Abubakar Audu, a former governor who contested the April 14, 2007 governorship election on the platform of the ANPP, had gone to the Election petitions tribunal to protest his exclusion.

The tribunal ruled that the exclusion by INEC was improper and called for a re-run election, a judgement upheld by the Court of Appeal.

"It is good for the country; it is beautiful. The judiciary, INEC and the people have done their job," Alkali said.

Also reacting, Senator Smart Adeyemi said the election results confirmed the people's belief in the PDP, as the only party that could bring meaningful development to Kogi.

"These election results are even more resounding than those which led to Alhaji Ibrahim Idris being sworn in as governor in May last year.

"Those in the opposition should apologise to Nigerians for destabilising the nation and inflicting violence on the people of Kogi State, all in an effort to occupy a position they do not deserve.

"They should also apologise for the resources expended on the re-run election and for disturbing the peace of the people who had told them that they were not on the ground.

"They should do the right thing and defect to the PDP,'' Adeyemi said.

But while reacting to the development, the candidate of the ANPP, Prince Audu described the declaration of Alhaji Idris as winner of the election by INEC as unacceptable.

He said it was glaring that he was more popular than his opponent, adding that the mandate given to Alhaji Idris by INEC is a stolen one.

Prince Audu further alleged that electoral officers assisted the ruling party in some cases in thumb printing the ballot papers, stressing that the entire exercise was characterised by violence and hijacking as well as diversion of ballot boxes.

While describing the situation as most unfortunate, he disclosed that he would seek redress at the tribunal in no distant future.

He said that necessary papers would be put together for the commencement of another legal battle ahead.

He lampooned the chairman of INEC, Prof. Maurice Iwu for once again failing the nation.

He maintained that the commission chairman insisted last year that what he gave the nation was the best even when the whole world rated the last April election as below international standard.

However, the director general of Alhaji Idris'campaign organization and chieftain of PDP in the state, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, in an interview with newsmen, enjoined their opponent to join hands with them to move the state forward.

He averred that although it is the right of the opposition to seek redress if they nurse any grievance, against the result, the members of the public would be tired of another tribunal.

He also called on the federal government to deal decisively with anyone fingered to have sponsored any form of violence during the election.

Meanwhile, Senate president David Mark and national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor yesterday applauded the re-election of Idris as the governor of Kogi State.

Prince Ogbulafor said that the re-election is a confirmation that Governor Idris actually won the April 14, 2007 governorship polls that was annulled by the tribunal.

The national chairman said that the party is now focused in winning the Adamawa re-election slated for April 12, 2008.

On his part Senator Mark said it is nolonger in dispute who the clear political leader is in Kogi State. He added that Idris's victory has re-confirmed the popularity of PDP across the country.

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