The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says fresh polls will be conducted in 59 polling units in the Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of the state.

According to the electoral umpire, the fresh election will be held next Saturday, November 18, 2023.

INEC National Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, announced this in a statement on Sunday night.

Already, election results from 18 of the 21 local government areas in Kogi State have been collated as of Sunday evening.

So far, results from Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Idah, Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu, Kogi, Mopa-Muro, Olamaboro, Ofu, Okehi, Omala, Ogori/Magongo, Okene, Yagba East and Yagba West LGAs have been announced.

Results of Ibaji, Igalamela-Odolu, and Lokoja LGAs are being awaited by the State Returning Officer, Prof Johnson Urama, who is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Murtala Ajaka; as well as his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Usman Ododo, are in a tight race so far.

Aside from Ajaka and Ododo, who is an ex-Auditor General of Local Government in Kogi under Governor Yahaya Bello, other strong contenders in the race include Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Party (ADC) and Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Melaye had on Saturday, raised the alarm over “filled result sheets” in the Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of the North Central state. The PDP candidate also called for the suspension of the exercise over violence and vote buying. INEC subsequently suspended election in nine wards in the local government area.

In its statement on Sunday, INEC said it received an update from Kogi regarding the suspension of election in some locations in the state where result sheets were completed before the commencement of voting.

“The most critical incident occurred in nine out of 10 Wards in Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area (LGA),” the statement added.

“We received reports of similar and other incidents in Adavi (5 Polling Units in Okunchi/Ozuri/Onieka Ward), Ajaokuta (5 Polling Units in Adogo Ward), Okehi (1 Polling Unit in Eika/Ohizenyi Ward) and Okene (5 Polling Units in Obehira Uvete Ward). Results from the affected Polling Units have been accounted for in Form EC40G for the four LGAs.

“However, in the case of Ogori/Magongo LGA, only the result of Oshobane Ward II with eight Polling Units and 2,264 registered voters has been collated. Election in the other nine Wards (Eni, Okibo, Okesi, Ileteju, Aiyeromi, Ugugu, Obinoyin, Obatgben and Oturu) involving 59 Polling Units and 15,136 registered voters remain suspended.

“In line with Section 24(3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Clause 59 of INEC Regulations and Guidelines on the Conduct of Elections 2022, a fresh election will be held on Saturday 18th November 2023 in the affected Polling Units.”

INEC said its decision to hold fresh elections is subject to the returning officer’s determination of the application of the Margin of Lead Principle. “However, this decision is without prejudice to our avowed commitment to follow the audit trail of personnel and materials to ascertain those who may have been complicit in undermining the process and apply appropriate sanctions where necessary.”

The Commission assured Kogi voters that their votes will continue to count.

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