By Mumini AbdulKareem
Last Saturday, the Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the concluded governorship and House of Assembly poll in the state.
The loss, which has been viewed by supporters of the PDP as being aided by heavy deployment of security operatives by the Federal Government and intimidation of party supporters surprisingly, left the PDP without a single seat in both the national and state assembly.
But reacting to the outcome of the exercise, the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki attributed the low turnout of voters to the heavy military presence across the state.
It would be recalled that the military and other security operatives had since Thursday engaged in show of force around strategic locations in Ilorin metropolis.
There was also the deployment of a military jet to the state capital which led to complaints by some residence.
Saraki, who condemned the action while speaking with newsmen after casting his vote alongside his wife, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, at Ode Opobiyi Polling Unit 005, Ajikobi ward in Ilorin West Local Government Area of the state blamed the low turnout of voters on the heavy deployment of military and other security operatives for the exercise.
He, however commended the voters for their orderliness and peaceful conduct during the exercise.
The Senate President further charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on strict use of card readers for the exercise.
Similarly, the PDP’s governorship candidate in Kwara State, Hon Razak Atunwa, after casting his ballot at Dongari-Iju Polling Unit in Asa Local Government Area of the state attributed the party’s loss in the Presidential and National Assembly elections to the decision by INEC to allow manual voting without the use of card readers.
He however commended INEC for ensuring the early arrival of its officers and electoral materials and observed that elections in some of the places he visited so far were peaceful.
Atunwa added that security was not as intimidating as it was witnessed in the last election.
…INEC declares APC winner of Kwara poll
The Kwara State All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has been declared winner of the gubernatorial election held on Saturday.
He polled 331,546 votes to emerge as the winner of the highly anticipated election.
His Peoples Democratic Party counterpart, Razak Atunwa, polled 114,754 votes to emerge as the runner-up in the election.
From the official results declared in all 16 local government areas in the state, Abdulrazaq led Atunwa with a margin of 216,792 votes.
Returning officer, Prof. Sanusi Liman of the Federal University of Technology, Lafia, Nasarawa State announced APC candidate as the winner of the governorship poll. The party also cleared all the 24 seats of the Kwara State House of Assembly, defeating the PDP in all the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
…Senate President congratulates Abdulrazaq, lawmakers-elect
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, through his tweeter handle, yesterday, congratulated the Kwara State governor-elect, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and all the 24 All Progressives Congress (APC) elected Kwara House of Assembly members.
Saraki, also thanked all Kwarans, particularly PDP supporters, who worked hard for the party in the just concluded elections.
“I thank all Kwarans, particularly PDP supporters, who worked for the party in the just concluded elections. My congratulations go to Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq and all those who emerged at all levels. I wish them all the best,” the tweet added.
…justify electorate’s confidence – Gov Ahmed tells Abdulrazaq, APC
The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed has also congratulated the Governor-elect, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq on his victory at the just concluded gubernatorial election in the state.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba, Governor Ahmed also congratulated the All Progressives Congress(APC) on the new mandate and advised the party to justify the confidence reposed in it by the electorate.
He felicitated with Kwarans saying “Abdulrazaq’s emergence is a manifestation of Kwarans’ resolve to give democracy a chance and allow another leadership to serve them”.
The Governor, who urged Kwarans to cooperate with the in-coming administration, promised to ensure a seamless transition to enhance smooth take-off of the new government to fast track deliverance of democratic dividends to Kwarans.
Ahmed thanked Kwarans and the PDP members for their hard work during the elections and the opportunity given to him to serve his fatherland as Governor.
…Atunwa seeks more devt under APC govt
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s poll, Hon. Razak Atunwa last night also congratulated the winner of the election, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atunwa, in a statement thanked God for His blessings as well as his party’s leadership and supporters who stood by him during the just concluded elections in the state.
He added: “I would like to thank the PDP leadership and all our supporters who stood by me in the just concluded elections. Your commitment and dedication is heart-warming. You all gave your best. We are all winners in the process of democracy.
“Whilst the Party considers its next line of action, and without prejudice to any legal process, I offer my congratulations to Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
“I pray that Kwara will continue to be a state of harmony and witness further development in the next administration. My utmost gratitude goes to Almighty God for His blessings.”
…Gov-elect calls for unity, dedicates victory to Kwarans
In his official reaction to his emergence, the governor-elect, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has called for unity while also dedicating his victory to the entire people of Kwara who voted overwhelmingly for the All Progressives Congress in the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
He said “We dedicate this victory to the people of Kwara State, home and abroad, who stood resolutely to see us through the democratic revolution that started many years ago.
“Much as this historic event calls for celebrations, we instead implore our people to reflect on the challenges ahead and the need to come together. This victory belongs to all Kwarans.
“We are faced with the challenge of evolving a Kwara that works for all… and we promise to diligently implement our manifesto for the good of our people”, he added in a statement that was personally signed by him.
He saluted those he described as the “heroes of this struggle, including all those who paid the supreme sacrifice” and prayed their souls rest in perfect peace.
“We thank our traditional rulers for their fatherly roles. We also commend the security agencies, electoral officers and other stakeholders who performed their duties creditably. We also thank the media for their professionalism”.
Low turnout, violence, mar guber, assembly polls in Kwara
The gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections held on Saturday in Kwara State commenced with mixed reactions from the electorate many of who woke up to heavy presence of security in major parts of Ilorin.
As early as 8am, accreditation and voting commenced simultaneously across many polling centres in the state for the two polls.
Although there were improvement in the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the last presidential and National Assembly elections especially in the issue of card readers and timely arrival of the commission’s ad-hoc staff, the exercise in most parts of the state witnessed low turnout.
There was also allegation of vote-buying which characterised the process.
At the General Hospital roundabout, Taiwo Junction, Ilorin, commuters, motorcycle riders and pedestrians where stopped and only allowed to proceed with the presentation of their voters cards.
At the Emir’s road junction, Taiwo Isale, men of the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) were also seen stopping motorists and other road users who explained they were heading to their polling units to cast their votes.
However, the exercise recorded some pockets of violence in some of the polling units visited amidst large complaints of heavy militarization, it was gathered.
There were reports that the Nigerian Army in Kwara State allegedly allowed and in some cases partook in targeted harassment of PDP agents, forcing them to leave the polling units they were assigned. Other military operatives reportedly went to houses of PDP chieftains in a form of intimidation on the guise of information of vote-buying being perpetrated there.
This took place in a large number of polling units around Ilorin and Kwara South.
The military was said to have whisked away the Ajikobi Ward youth leader, Yunus Ataragba to an unknown location, on alleged order of an APC chieftain; Kale Shiru.
That notwithstanding, the PDP took an early lead across most parts of Kwara South and Ilorin.
Magaji Ngeri – Violence, arrest of party agents
While the exercise lasted, there were arrests of many party agents mostly of the PDP on the orders of APC stalwarts. At Magaji Ngeri, Sani Okin, in Ilorin at polling unit 005, Ode-Alikali Sokoto, Magaji Ngeri, the electorate revolted against the security operatives who arrested party agents allegedly under the order of some APC chieftains in the state. It took the intervention of the DG of the PDP National Security officer and former gubernatorial aspirant of the party in the state, Ibrahim Ajia who called attention of INEC Resident Electoral Commission (REC) to the issue. Speaking on the issue, one of the security officials who did not want his name in print said explained that they were informed that some of the agents were fake party agent which led to the action of the police in the first place. He however said the issue was brought under control and appealed to the electorate to be civil in their conduct for the exercise to go on smoothly.
Ajikobi- Gbemi loses polling unit to brother
For Senator Gbemisola Saraki who cast her vote around 12:10pm, she lost her polling unit 006, Odo-Opobiyi in Ajikobi, to the PDP. The APC polled 125 votes against PDP’s 253 in the governorship poll and 118 to 257 to lose the House of Assembly in the unit. Speaking with journalists, Gbemi rallied support for the APC government and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari adding that the presence of the military will ensure the smooth conduct of the election. She said she was impressed with the level of participation of the electorate. Speaking shortly after exercising her franchise, Gbemisola said she was not conflicted voting for APC, adding that there is need to increase the polling units because of the large number of registered voters there.
Ilorin East – Harassment, disenfranchisement of PDP stalwarts
For the Chairman of Kwara State Local Government Service Commission, Hajia Sarat Adebayo, it was a terrible experience as she was on Saturday harassed and prevented from casting her vote by youths suspected to be supporters of the APC, over alleged possession of fake Permanent Voter Card (PVC).
Speaking with journalists on the issue at Ode Onitobi polling unit 022, Asileke, in Ilorin East Local Government Area of the state, she alleged that they denied her from casting her ballot and even seized her PVC in an attempt to intimidate her.
Narrating her ordeal, Adebayo said “when I was about to cast my vote, I presented my voter card to the Presiding Officer which he obliged. While he was trying to verify my name from his record, the APC agents came from behind and snatched my PVC from the presiding officer, they hanged my hand, before I knew what was happening; I got injured as six of them mobbed me”.
She alleged that those who attacked her were sponsored by Reps-elect for Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Cook Olododo.
According to her, Olododo masterminded the attack because of the perfect arrangements she championed by separating the two polling units in the area to avoid rigging.
Speaking further, she said, “Our experience in the last two weeks was very bitter. Today, we took the bull by the horn and separated the two boxes but they were not comfortable with the new arrangement. Then, in the last election, their agents were six and today we made our own six too in order to address rigging”.
She alleged further that one PDP observer and two agents were arrested by the police over her attack but were later released.
She however appreciated INEC officers for their orderliness and proper arrangement.
Also, the Youth Empowerment Coordinator (YEC) to Governor of Kwara State in Moro LGA, Imam Musa Bashir was reportedly stabbed by suspected APC thugs with four others in comma at Sheji polling unit in Babadudu ward of Moro Local Government Area.
Ubandawaki – INEC staff stopped voting over security fears
INEC Staff were evacuated from Ubandawaki ward in Ilorin West local government over what eyewitness termed lack of security presence. They did not initially allow voting to commence because of the Sensing the danger to their lives without enough security presence, the INEC staffs refused to allow commencement of voting and then left the venue.
Low turnout at Gaa-Akanbi
At Danialu, Gaa-Akanbi area, the election witnessed a low turnout despite the movement of sensitive and non sensitive materials from the collation centre, Agbabiaka LGEA primary school to polling units as early as 5:66am.
Verification and accreditation started at polling unit 019 in the center at exactly 8am. A few number of the electorate were seen cued up to vote.
Also election witnessed low turnout in Agbabiaka ward III unit 003 as few electorate where seen on cue waiting for the arrival of both the ad-hoc staff and sensitive and non sensitive materials which arrived at 8:27am. Voting began at about 8:45am.
Speaking on the conduct of the election in the unit, Alhaji Anafi attributed the low turnout to power supply by IBDEC and that supposed electorate are probably Watching television in their houses. He further said security agents are fully on ground as the conduct was peaceful.
In Oke-Ogun Maternity Akanbi ward III Unit 007, the electorates had organised themselves orderly before the arrival of the adhoc staff and materials at about 8.24am. A voter, Mr. Abraham Gbenga who coordinated the electorate, said, ” I don’t belong to any party. I just want to ensure that everything is okay. The turnout is relatively low compared to the Presidential election. There is no security threat, everything is in order”. he added.
Akanbi ward III, Unit 009 open space pipeline also witnessed a low turnout. A Domestic observer, Yomi Raphael said the election is cool and quite. Security agents are all over here. An electorate from the same polling unit said the election is peaceful and there is no record of violence.
The Supervising Presiding Officer, Daniallu centre, Mr. Dagbo Bolakale said, “we have visited over 30 polling units, and the objective of this visit is to ensure that the election of today run smoothly without any itch. We quickly run round to where there are itches. In places we have visited, so far there is no major problem. There are no incidence of any security lapses.
….early voting at Osere, Ilorin West
Voting materials arrived Osere at exactly 8:15 am, while accreditation and voting started simultaneously.
Card readers at the unit functional without any inches, except in few cases where electorates were ask to undergo the manual process.
Speaking with this medium at the venue, APC stalwart, Alh. Oladimeji Ibrahim expressed satisfaction with the manners and orderliness of the voters at the unit.
According to him, Idi-Opoto polling unit has ever been known for violent free voting as there is no any reason for electoral rancour or schism.
“What we saw today is far positive to the hitherto presidential election where elections materials arrived the unit late.
“I think, we expect nothing here today than a huge free election. We have no base here at Osere for violence, irrespective of your party affiliation. We are one family.
“The beauty of democracy allows for free of choices, if not we have no cause to go against each others in electoral battle, “he said.
In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Oko-Erin ward leader , Alh. Husain Magaji expressed satisfaction with the situation.
“As you can see by yourself so far, Idi-Opoto 003 is huge free. Election materials arrived on time, and the officials has since start their duties as expect.
“With what am seeing now, there is no signs or prospect of any crisis or disorder.”
“Accepted, our party lost at the last election, but that doesn’t portray we are not going to win this “, Mogaji added.
Meanwhile, accreditation and voting ends at exactly 1:49 pm, counting of voting follows immediately.
APC won the election both elections polling 235 votes to PDP’ 69
Reacting to the outcome of the results, the PDP Chairman, Oko-Erin ward, Oseni Mogaji said the outcome of the results speaks the mind of the people.
“We will wait for the overall results across the state, and I think our leader will react appropriately”, he stressed.
Also, the PDP agent at the unit, Isiaq Luqman expressed satisfaction with the conducts of the poll.
“There is no cause for alarm here, the electorates play by the rules of the game”.
However, at the Osere junction polling unit, the elections had a long delay owing to the imbalances in the serial numbers of ballot papers on ground.
The voters unanimously refused to start the accreditation, until the errors were corrected.
It took the intervention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace the unaltered ballot papers before voting could take place.
Our reporters who monitored the exercise at the Kwara South observed that reasonable number of voters did not come out to exercise their civic rights compared to last two Saturday contest.
At the AUD Nursery and Primary school, Ijagbo, Oyun Local Government polling unit 004, the electorate were said seen exercising their civic duties.
The voting was said to have commenced early, by 8:am at this centre but the turnout of the voters was poor.
Though the exercise at this area was described as free and fair but party agents that spoke with this medium lamented the low turn of the party members.
Party agents who decried low turnout of their members at this polling centre are: Omoeye Oloniyan for PDP, Raphael Aderemi, NRM, Ganiyu Lawal, ADC and Biodun Taiwo for UDP.
At the Open Space Popo Market in Offa, Offa Local Government Area of the state, the exercise was also said to have started by 8:am but large to number of voters seems not to be on ground.
It is not different stages Ojoku centre open space 2. Though the election started early by 8:am but the turnout was low.
When visited the St. Thomas polling centre at Offa, the party APC agent, Adebiyi Kayode and his PDP counterpart, Oyedeji Tajudeen said the election has been free and fair.
They commended the electoral umpire for putting in place all neccessary logistics that checkmate rigging or any form of election malpractices.
Also visited in Offa by this medium are, ADU polling centre, Akingbasa 009, Balogun 002 Isosu unit among many others.
At Irepodun Local Government Area, the election materials were said to have arrived the council early enough while the voting exercise commenced also in earnest.
At the headquarters of the council in Omu-Aran, the poll was said to be free and fair at Afonja in Oke Aja, the polling centres of the PDP deputy Governorship candidate, Hon. Gbenga Makanjuola and at the Senator elect unit, Adewuyi Ajulo Opin in Ile-Olupo.
At Ile Oro area, in Omu-Aran, the process was reportedly marred with violence as the DPO of the area was reported to be personally carring out attack on innocent voters.
Victim of the attack who shared his ordeal with this medium is Gambari Abdulwasiu Funsho
Funsho whose body was inflicted with brushes, multiple injuries told this medium in an emotional laden voice accused the DPO of being unjust.
He said, “I was at the polling centre asking for my party agent, I’m equally an agent, the DPO came behind me and started descending on me for no reason. I asked him my offence, he did not respond but continued beaten me. Now, I can’t move my hand, the pain is too much.
…pregnant woman falls into labour in Ilorin
While the voting exercise was in progress on Saturday, an unidentified expectant mother fell into labour in Ilorin.
The woman was said to be on her way to the polling booth when she suddenly fell into labour by the road side.
According to reports, Femi Oparinde, a presenter with a radio station, Sobi FM, who was on election duty, quickly rushed to the aide of the expectant mother by taking her to a nearby hospital.
…guber candidate calls for cancellation of results
The Governorship Candidate of the Alternative Party of Nigeria (APN), Amb. Muhammed Abubakar Muhammed has called for the cancellation of the Gubernatorial election in Kwara State.
He made the disclosure during a press briefing with newsmen at his hometown Tsaragi, Edu Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.
He said, “I was shocked having followed the procedures till the stage of casting my vote to discover that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to include the logo of my party on the ballot paper for governorship in Kwara State.
Amb. Mohammed explained that INEC had in January 2019 published APN as one of the 35 parties to contest the governorship election and the party had embarked on massive campaigns since then.
He said, “The commission denied me victory in the poll. This election can’t stay without APN’s participation. We therefore call for cancellation of the governorship election in Kwara because the outcome can’t stand.
”We will challenge the injustice. INEC must conduct fresh election with APN logo on the ballot paper. Nobody can stop us from making Kwara to work again.”
The governorship candidate debunked the allegation that his party had stepped down for another contestant in the state.
Amb. Mohammed therefore called on International Observers, security agencies, electorate and other stakeholders to demand for explanation from INEC.
He urged APN supporters across the state to remain calm as the party will institute legal avenue to address the issue.