By Uche Amunike
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the just concluded February 25th election, Barr. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, has lost the Kogi Senatorial seat to Sadiku Abubakar Ogere of the All Progressives Party (APC), who has just been declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tuesday.
The INEC Returning Officer at the collation Centre in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi state, Professor Rotimi Ajayi who is a lecturer with the Federal University, Lokoja, declared APC’s Ohere as winner of the keenly contested election.
While announcing the results, he lauded the contestants for being cooperative during the electoral process, stating that the election was held in five local government areas of the Kogi Central Senatorial district which are Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ohiri-Magongo, Okeke and Okehi.
According to him, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan won in four, out of the five local government areas of the Kogi senatorial district. The other candidates also polled the following votes:
Abdul Yahaya (Labour Party) – 1,226 votes; Abdulazeez Tajudeen (PRP) – 101 votes; Suleiman Aminat (AA) -16 votes; Kadhim Moses (APGA) – 53 votes; Musa Awolu (NRM) – 66 votes; Adagiri Moshood (ADC) -179 votes and Anakobe Abdulazeez (NNPP) – 230 votes.
While declaring the winner, he stated that Sadiku Abubakar Ohere of the APC clinched the seat as he polled 52,132 votes, thereby defeating Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan of the PDP who got 51,763 votes.
His words: ‘Ohere, having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared the winner and returned elected’.
Barr. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan has however refused to accept the results of the Kogi senatorial election, alleging that there were manipulation of the processes, cancellation of the polling units where she won, doctoring of figures and also invasion of several polling units by armed thugs led by the members of the All Progressives Congress.
According to a statement released by the Natasha-Akpoti Campaign Organization, Tuesday, officials of the electoral umpire, INEC and the APC disregarded electoral guidelines and fraudulently rigged Okene Local Government Area with high numbers that showed over voting.
It partly read: ‘The returning officer of Ajaokuta LGA was harassed and coerced by officials of Kogi state government and APC to cancel 12 polling units in Ajaokuta LGA where Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan won with a wide margin and declared the results of the 12 polling units inconclusive.’
‘In Okehi local government area, APC thugs invaded the three Wards of Oboroke Uvete, Oboroke Eba Ward I & II and burnt 20 polling units where Natasha won with high margin.’
‘Despite APC rigging scheme, Barr. Natasha won Ajaokuta with 1, 355 votes lead. To ensure the APC candidate is announced at all cost, the 1,355 votes lead in Ajaokuta was forcefully reduced to 878.’
‘Despite the 12 polling units that were forcefully canceled and declared inconclusive in Ajaokuta LGA and the 20 polling units where election did not hold in Oboroke, Okehi Local Government Area, the Returning Officer for Kogi Central Senatorial election was coerced to announce APC candidate as the winner with 365 votes lead.’
‘The good people of Nigeria should know that the INEC guidelines were flagrantly disregarded in Kogi Central to subvert the will of the good people of Kogi Central.’
‘It should be noted that the APC candidate was announced as the winner when 12 polling units with high number of voters were declared inconclusive in Ajaokuta LGA and 20 polling units where election did not hold in Oboroke, Okehi LGA.’
‘Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan rejects the results and calls on INEC to review the results and declare her as the rightful winner of the 2023 Kogi Central Senatorial elections for this is the only act that gets justice for the people of Kogi Central senatorial district.’
‘Barr. Natasha appreciates the good people of Kogi Central who came out to vote for her despite the threat and intimidation and stood firm in many areas, assuring them of recovering their mandate’, the statement added.