Dino Melaye Comes Distant Third As INEC Declares Usman Ododo Winner Of Kogi Election

Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, has declared Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of Kogi State governorship polls despite elections being suspended in some locations due to discrepancies.

He gave Muktar Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and former Senator Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by a wide margin to emerge the winner.

Johnson Urama, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, pronounced Mr Ododo the winner Sunday night after results from all 21 local government areas of the state were read out.

Mr Ododo had 446,237 votes after winning 13 local government areas, and Mr Ajaka came in second place with 259,052 votes. The SDP candidate won in eight local governments, while Mr Melaye, who had 46,362 votes, did not win any.

Mr Ododo was the auditor-general of local government under Governor Yahaya Bello, his political godfather, who has been staunchly backing him to emerge his successor.

Mr Ajaka, until May 2023, was a member of the APC but defected after he lost his governorship bid to Mr Ododo in a primary election that was fraught with irregularities and discrepancies.

In Adavi alone, the APC candidate polled over 100,000 votes, where the SDP candidate scored less than 300 votes, paving for his emergence as the victor of the contest.

INEC, on Saturday, suspended the polls in nine wards in Ogori-Mangogo over electoral malpractices where many result sheets had already been completed while voting was still underway.

The conduct of the polls was largely peaceful as opposed to 2019 when gunmen in combat aircraft shot at residents to cause mayhem and disrupt the election process.

Mr Ododo is anticipated to take the oath of office in early 2024.