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Nigeria's gubernatorial polls: opposition loses Bayelsa, APC retains Kogi


Nigeria’s electoral commission on Monday declared ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, David Lyon, winner of Bayelsa governorship election held over the weekend.

The declaration stirred up emotions given the chaotic nature of the election. It also reaffirmed the APC’s resurgence in the oil rich state, some analyst say. The seat was previously held by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Others believe, the victory of the APC candidate confirms President Muhammadu Buhari’s growing influence in this opposition stronghold. Bayelsa is the home region of former president Goodluck Jonathan.

Meanwhile, the APC also maintained its seat in Kogi State where incumbent Yahya Bello was re-elected for a second and final term in office.

As in Bayelsa, the Kogi vote was marred by incidents of violence and vote buying on the part of both major parties. The two states did not hold gubernatorial elections earlier this year when general elections were held.

Regional elections are fiercely contested in Nigeria, where governors remain influential personalities, controlling the finances of their state and key areas, ranging from education to health and infrastructure.

Reports say Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with 190 million inhabitants is battling with challenges of electoral violence and fraud, such as vote buying, voter intimidation and ballot theft.

President Buhari congratulated the new governor of Bayelsa State in a statement on Monday, deploring the incidents.

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