An order has been given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for fresh elections to be conducted in some wards in Kogi State as a result of irregularities.
Kogi is one of the three states where off-cycle elections held on Saturday.
Following some pre-filled result sheets which went into circulation while voting was ongoing, INEC had suspended elections across nine wards and said further communication would be made.
In a statement on Sunday, Mohammed Haruna, a National Commissioner, said fresh elections would hold in the affected areas.
“Further to our Statement yesterday, we have received an update from our Kogi State office 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).
“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, fresh election will be held on Saturday 18thNovember 2023 in the affected Polling Units.
“The 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 wishes to reiterate its assurances to voters in Kogi State that their votes will continue to count and their wishes respected.”