Residents of Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States will head to the polls today for their off-cycle elections to elect their next governors.
These elections cover the south-east, South-South and north-central regions of Nigeria.
In Imo and Bayelsa, the incumbents are seeking re-election, while Kogi State is set to elect a new governor.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) aims to maintain power in Kogi and Imo States, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will strive to retain power in Bayelsa State.
Bayelsa has historically been a PDP stronghold since 1999 and quickly regained power after losing it in 2019 due to a Supreme Court verdict.
Governor Douye Diri, running for a second term under the PDP, faces major challengers: former Governor Timipre Sylva of the APC and Udengs Eradiri of the Labour Party (LP).
In Kogi State, the electorate will vote for a new state leader as Governor Yahaya Bello exits office after his two constitutional terms.
The APC candidate, Ododo Usman Ahmed, endorsed by the incumbent, competes against Murtala Yakubu Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Dino Melaye of the PDP, and Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
In Imo, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had cleared 17 candidates for today’s governorship election.
Leading the pack are Governor Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Samuel Anyanwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party’s Athan Achonu.
Bayelsa: Election materials arrive early in Yenagoa
There was an early arrival of election materials at polling units in Yenagoa.
At the Amarata Ward 6 in Yenagoa Local Government Area, a NAN correspondent reports that activities started at 7:30 a.m. as materials were being distributed to polling units within the ward.
Security officials were already positioned at strategic points within the ward centre.
Similaye Jonah, an ad hoc staff on election duty, said the materials left the Registration Area Centre (RAC) earlier.
As at 8:00 a.m, polling units around the area were awaiting the materials to set up.
The atmosphere around Yenagoa is calm with light vehicular traffic as pedestrians move about unhindered.
Bayelsa: Voting commences in Ward 6 Unit 16 Amarata Yenagoa
Voting has commenced in Ward 6 Unit 16 Amarata, Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission officials were educating voters on how to cast their votes.
Also, accreditation and voting are ongoing in Unit 39, Ward 13, Otuoke, Ogbia Constituency I.
Voting is yet to commence in Lokoja Metropolis
As of 9 a.m., when polling stations were supposed to open for voting, the exercise had yet to commence across many polling units within the Lokoja metropolis.
At the Ava Junction polling unit, security agencies and voters were on the ground waiting for Independent National Electoral Commission officials who were not in sight.
It was the same situation at the Miami polling unit at Adankolo in Lokoja local government area, where many voters were seen checking their names on the INEC list.
Kogi witnesses late arrival of INEC officials, materials at polling units
The Off-cycle Governorship Election in Kogi witnessed late arrival of INEC officials at polling units in some parts of the state.
Most places around Lokoja metropolis encountered the late arrival of officials and materials.
INEC had announced that materials and officials were expected to arrive at their centres/polling units by 6:00 a.m.
Places like Adankolo, Lokongoma and Kpata encountered similar challenges.
Mr. Cornelius Stephen, a civil servant that came from Kano to vote, expressed disappointment with INEC, which had assured timely distribution of materials and arrival of officials at polling units across Kogi.
“This election is different from what we experienced on Feb. 25 and March 18 elections.
“You can see that it’s 7:40 a.m. already, yet only security personnel are around here at St Luke Primary School, Adankolo within Lokoja 1 Ward A,” he said.
The officials for the ward, however, arrived at 8:15 a.m. and moved to their various polling units.
Abiola Choice, Presiding Officer (PO), said that they came late to St. Luke Primary School, Adankolo, because of late distribution of materials at the RAC Centre in Crowder Memorial College, Lokoja.
She added: “Even after we got the materials from the RAC (Registration Area Centres), there was no vehicle to convey us to the polling units.
“As you can see, we are trying to set the tables and also paste the voters registers on the walls for the voters to check their names to come forward for accreditation and voting.
“By God’s grace in the few minutes we shall be done with the setting for the accreditation to commence,” Choice assured.
Again, there were no agents of the 18 participating political parties in some of the polling units.