By Rafiu Ajakaye
Nigeria’s ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has won a crucial governorship poll ahead of the country's general elections next year, according to official results.
Election officials in the southwestern Ekiti state said the APC’s Kayode Fayemi polled 197,459 to trounce his closest rival Kolapo Olusola of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 178,114 votes on Saturday.
The tally showed that Fayemi won in 12 of the 16 local governments of the state, clearly beating the constitutional requirement of 25 percent of the vote from at least two-thirds of the agrarian state for a winner to emerge.
Fayemi will take over from PDP Governor Ayodele Fayose, whose tenure concludes later this year. Olusola is the incumbent deputy governor.
Independent election observers reported a huge voter turnouts but said the exercise was riddled with vote-buying, intimidation, and ballot-snatching by the two main political parties.
“The election witnessed an unprecedented level of vote trading, a trend which is fast becoming a norm in Nigeria's elections,” the Center for Democracy and Development/Premium Times, an independent observer group, said in their preliminary report on the election.
“There were also incidences recorded of attempts by thugs affiliated to two leading political parties to hijack voting materials.”
Many political analysts have said the Ekiti poll could predict the popularity of the two parties ahead of next year’s poll.
On Saturday night, Nigeria’s broadcast regulatory body shut down Ekiti radio and TV stations after Fayose gave unofficial results of the election, in violation of the country's electoral laws.