Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja
There was wild jubilation by supporters of Senator Smart Adeyemi on Sunday when the Returning Officer for Kogi West Senatorial rerun election declared him as the winner of the election.
The outcome of the supplementary election showed that Senator Dino Melaye who represented Kogi West in the seventh Assembly lost his seat to Adeyemi.
According to the Returning Officer, Prof. Olaide Lawal of Fedetal University Oye Ekiti, Adeyemi polled a total of 88,373 votes to defeat Melaye who polled 62,133 votes.
Lawal said that the rerun election became necessary in view of the fact that no clear winner emerged in the last senatorial election.
He said that the margin of win was less than the cancelled votes which made the election inconclusive according to the electoral law.
However, the Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. James Apam, has blamed the low turnout on political parties’ failure to effectively mobilise their supporters to go out and cast their votes.
He was speaking against the backdrop of voter apathy in most polling units visited by THISDAY in Lokoja wards.
While speaking with newsmen shortly before setting out to monitor the election, the REC said the parties should be blamed.
Apam said that instead of the political parties to embark on membership drive aimed at convincing their supporters on the need to come out and vote for them, they did not do so but turned around to blame the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for poor turnout of voters.
The election, which was marred by low turnout of voters in some polling units, was as a result of the fear of a repeat of the violence that greeted the November 16 election.
Bala Bariga, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain who spoke with THISDAY at Ward C, Unit 001, attributed the low turnout to the fear of their vote not counting as it was during the last election.
He also said more voters stayed away for fear of being caught in any crossfire.
However, there were no reported case of violence as the few voters on the queue were seen casting their votes without any incidence.
In Ward D, Yaragi polling unit 002 voters were seen casting their votes peacefully.
Meanwhile, Senator Melaye has vowed to approach the courts to seek redress.
The maverick politician, who spoke shortly after casting his vote on Saturday said that he would be approaching the election petition tribunal if INEC does not review the last election.
“What we have as result is fraud, a major fraud. The November 16 election was a fraud that would not stand,” he said.