Opposition party alleges vote buying in senatorial contest
The All Progressive Congress (APC) has won weekend’s bye-elections for the Katsina North and Bauchi South senatorial seats. The party was also victorious in a similar exercise held for Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency of Kogi State.
The party’s flagbearer and former member of the House of Representative, Ahmed Babba-Kaita, beat his brother and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kabir Babba Kaita, in the contest adjudged peaceful.
The seat became vacant following the death of the last occupant, Senator Bukar Mustapha, on April 4 this year, during a brief illness.
According to the Returning Officer for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Hudu Ayuba-Abdullahi, during the announcement of the results yesterday in Daura, Kaita polled 224,607 votes while his elder brother, a retired Customs officer, got 59,724 ballots.
He said the total number of registered voters was 864,046 while 308,500 were accredited.
According to Ayuba-Abdullahi, the total vote cast was 294,050, out of which 287,155 votes were counted as valid and 10,891 rejected.
The APC standard-bearer defeated his rival in all of the 12 councils that make up the senatorial district.
However, the state PDP chairman, Salisu Majigiri, has accused the ruling party of buying votes in all of the 1,825 polling units.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Daura, he admitted that the exercise was relatively peaceful, adding that it was several hours after voting that his party discovered that ballots had allegedly been bought by the APC.
He said: “It was only in the afternoon that we realised there were so many vote buying going on within the senatorial district.
“We have 1,825 polling units, including the voting points. No single polling unit that we didn’t get report that there is vote buying.
“We have our agents there. They complained to us. We raised complaints to the security but nothing was done. So, there is no single polling unit that there is no report of vote buying.
The Returning Officer, Professor Ahmed Serki Fagam of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, who announced the APC candidate and serving member of the House of Representatives, Lawal Yahaya Gumau as winner, said he secured 119,489 of the total votes of 256,763 cast to beat the flagbearer of the Green Party of Nigeria and immediate past governor, Isah Yuguda, with 33,079 ballots and erstwhile Director General of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Ladan Salihu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polling 50,256 votes.
Gumau won in all of the seven council areas in the district.
Declaring Haruna Isa of the APC winner of the Kogi polls, the Returning Officer, Professor Rotimi Ajayi of the Federal University, Lokoja, said he scored 26,860 votes to defeat his closest rival, Bashir Abubakar of the PDP who polled 14,845 votes.
The candidates of the ADC and SDP Kasim Mabo and Umar Imam got 2,984 and 2,916 ballots.
Prof. Ajayi explained that results from 17 polling units totaling 19,960 votes were cancelled due to violence and irregularities.