By Naomi Sharang
An Independent Observer Group, Coalition for Transparent Elections in Africa (CTEAN) says the just concluded Kogi governorship election was free, fair and credible as it substantially conformed with the electoral laws.
Convener of the group, Mr Nelson Ogbu, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
“We note with sense of satisfaction that the election in Kogi was relatively peaceful and the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were alive to their duty.
“This is as the election was adjudged free and fair even by the teeming Kogi electorate.
“We commend the great people of Kogi, various security agencies and other observer groups for their matured conducts during and after the said governorship elections in Kogi.
“We also commend Nigeria’s security organisations, including the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other security agencies for their professionalism,” he said.
Ogbu added:“Above all, the principal actors in the contest and their supporters must be commended for the civil way they went about in voting and post elections.
“So far, we can authoritatively confirm that there are no post- election violence that are always the characteristics of off-cycle elections.
“The voting pattern suggests that the various candidates showed strength in their respective strongholds, meaning that INEC provided a level playing field for all the political parties during the 2023 gubernatorial election in Kogi.”
He urged political actors in the country to continue to embrace peace and see to one united Kogi.
“The governor-elect needs the support of all stakeholders to succeed. We believe in one Nigeria and this can only be achieved when there is peace, love and tranquility,” he said.
Alhaji Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner after polling 446, 237 votes to beat his closest rival, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu-Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who scored 259, 052.(NAN)