* Polls 473,933, PDP’s Uba trails with 233,913
* INEC declares winner by ‘marginal difference’
* Voter apathy, violence, killings mar polls
By James Shim and Victor Ayoo
Spontaneous celebration heralded the declaration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 gubernatorial elections in Benue State, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia who emerged winner of the contest that saw him defeating his closest rival, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Titus Uba, with more than half of the votes cast.
Exultation erupted as ardent political parties’ supporters, commercial and private vehicle operators, civil servants and retirees, as well as market men and women, including children and the aged, all took to the streets to register their joyfulness.
Scores of persons carried palm fronts and placards as they walked on the streets in groups, chanting victory songs to hail the victory of Alia.
The Governorship Election Returning Officer for the State and Vice Chancellor Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof Faruk Kuta who announced the results on Monday at INEC Headquarters, Makurdi said Rev Fr Alia scored a total of 473,933 to defeat his closest challenger who is candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) and Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Titus Uba who got 233, 913 votes. The candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Hermen Hembe came far third position.
Although the result of the votes from Kwande Local government area was still being anticipated at the time the results were declared, Prof Kuta said the Results of the election was based on what it termed ‘ Marginal Differential’.
According to him, this has to be applied as results from Kwande local government area was not collected as at the time of the declaration.
He further explained that the electoral act Section 24(21) provides that “when the difference in total results of the winning candidate was more than the total number of collected PVCs in outstanding election, then INEC would go ahead and announce the results.”
As soon as the results were announced, there was bombing shout of celebration from supporters of the APC who had laid siege on the INEC office in Makurdi, awaiting the result.
A convoy of commercial motorcyclist popularly called Okada, with APC draped flags took to the streets of the Benue state capital shouting slogans and honking their horns, attracting hundreds of onlookers.
Meanwhile, The Voice Politics which monitored the election gathered that there was generally low turnout for the election.
Investigation revealed that the voter apathy was occasioned by alleged experiences during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, where, there had been widespread allegations of non conformity with upload of results by INEC.
Also, there were reported cases of violence and killings in some areas especially Gboko, Katsina Ala and Vandeikya, resulting to death of some persons who allegedly wanted to snatch election materials.
The All Progressives Congress APC would be taking control of available seats in the Benue State House of Assembly as it has won 19 Seats, even as the two in Kwande local government remain undeclared.
Benue State House of Assembly members elect as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, include; Hon. Hyacinth Aondona Dajoh – Gboko West, Hon. Beckie Orpin – Gboko East, Hon. Simon Gabo – Mata, Hon. Saater Tiseer – Mbagwa and Hon. Abraham Jabi – Buruku.
Other APC members elect include Hon. Emmanuel Shimawua – Kyan, Hon. Mathew Damkor – Tiev, Hon. Jonathan Agbidyeh – Katsina-Ala East (re-elected), Hon. Peter Ipusu – Katsina-Ala West and Hon. Yanmar Ortese, Hon. Berger Alfred Emberga and Hon. Douglas Akya for Guma, Makurdi North and Makurdi South respectively.
The list also has Hon. Ezra Nyiyongu -Ukum, Hon. Ikong Cyril Ijebe, Hon. Audu Elias – Gwer East, Hon. Lami Danladi – Ado, Hon. Angbo Kennedy – Otukpo/Akpa, Hon. Manger Manger – Tarka and Hon. Ismaila Agada – Ogbadibo.
On the other hand, PDP won ten seats. They are; Hon. Onah Blessed Emmanuel – Oju 1, Hon. Godwin Abu Edoh – Agatu, Hon. James Abu – Apa, Hon. Moses Ogbodo – Obi, Hon. Agom Anthony while Hon. Michael Audu had clinched Okpokwu and Adoka/Ugboju seats respectively.
Some of the state assembly members elect under the platform of PDP are Hon. Abu Umoru – Apa, Hon. Isaac Ochekeiye – Ohimini and Hon. Samuel Shimapever Jiji – Logo, Hon. Solomon Gyila – Gwer West while Hon. Cephas Dyako Ashwa was reelected under Labour Party, LP, in Konshisha respectively.
Both Kwande East and Kwande West are pending.
As it stands, APC will go in the tenth Benue State House of Assembly as a major political party and would probably, produce the Speaker and other principal officers.
2023 Governorship election result in Benue State by LGAs
Katsina Ala 34,347 6,716
Konshisha. 13,997 5,905
Logo 15,574 16,385
Ukum 28,503 9,418
Ushongo 31,946 8,879
Vandeikya 46, 786 12,988
Buruku 34,713 9,513
Gboko 53, 985 18, 773
Gwer East 20,083 12,085
Gwer West 10,947 13,609
Guma 15,371 22,083
Makurdi 56,432 12,329
Tarka 16,422 3,748
Ado 8,662 4,379
Agatu 7,482 9,934
Apa 7,925 7,806
Obi 9,897 6,267
Ogbadibo 7,627 6,032
Ohimini 7,233 6,785
Oju 17,245 8,811
Okpokwu 9,326 8,634
Otukpo 19,430 12,834
Grand total: 473,933 233,913