Elections in Nigeria exhibit peculiar dynamics, distinct from countries with more established electoral traditions. The Nigerian political landscape often appears unpredictable, with the electoral outcomes influenced by seemingly irrational and at times, bewildering factors. Even past presidential election winners in Nigeria have expressed doubt about their victories. As the off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa approach, Yekini Jimoh, John Kennedy Uzoma, and Imoleayo Oyedeyi delve into the current conditions in these states and ponder whether the enigmatic forces that shape Nigerian elections will be appeased.
With less than one month remaining until the off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa, the political environment in these states has intensified. Major political parties are employing diverse strategies to sway the electorate and gain an advantage.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reports that approximately 5.4 million voters have registered for the governorship polls scheduled for November 11 in these states. Sam Olumekun, the National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, revealed this statistic, stating that Bayelsa has 1,056,862 registered voters, Imo has 2,419,922, and Kogi has 1,932,654, totaling 5,409,438 registered voters in the three states. He also mentioned that all participating political parties would receive digital copies of the voter register for these states.
Furthermore, Olumekun detailed the number of parties fielding candidates in these elections: Bayelsa will see 16 political parties, Imo 17, and Kogi all 18 parties participating by sponsoring candidates. INEC is committed to enhancing the use of technology for voter accreditation and result management. Mock voter accreditation using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the upload of polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) have been planned to test the systems’ functionality. This exercise will take place simultaneously in the three states, with a list of designated polling units available on the INEC website and social media platforms.
As the election date draws near, major political parties in the three states are leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of victory.
Kogi: In Kogi State, while INEC has identified 18 political parties vying for the top office, it seems that the primary contest revolves around three of them: the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). However, other political parties are actively working to secure victory on November 11.
Senator Dino Melaye, the PDP’s candidate, has embarked on an extensive campaign across the state, engaging with religious leaders and political figures both within and beyond the state. Yet, observers speculate that his chances of becoming the state’s next governor may have diminished due to notable defections from the PDP to the APC, which has been in power in the state for the past eight years. Prominent figures like former Deputy Governor Yomi Awoniyi and former State House of Assembly member Alfred Hello have switched allegiance to the ruling party.