WARRI, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, has narrowly won the race for governor of Ekiti state in the country’s south, electoral officials announced Sunday.
The ruling party’s Kayode Fayemi won by a margin of less than 20,000 votes, Nigeria’s electoral commission said. Fayemi got 197,459 votes to defeat his closest rival, Kolapo Olusola of the People’s Democratic Party, who received 178,114 votes in the keenly contested poll.
By winning the governor’s race, the ruling party has regained control of Ekiti state. But some opposition parties swiftly rejected the result, alleging the election was marked by vote-buying and voter intimidation.
“The process was characterized by open alteration of results, brutalization of innocent citizens, barefaced cruelty and intimidation of our members by security agencies, in a brazen assault against democracy and a direct subversion of the will of the people,” said Kola Ologbondiyan, national publicity secretary of the People’s Democratic Party.
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Another opposition party, the Accord Party, accused both the ruling party and the People’s Democratic Party of buying votes. Ruling party officials paid 5,000 naira (about $17) per vote, while leaders of the People’s Democratic Party paid 4,000 naira (about $13) per vote, alleged Abiodun Aluko, the Accord Party’s candidate for governor.
“Security agents turned blind eyes to the distribution of money which was done openly,” said Aluko, in a statement.
Nigeria’s police and the electoral commission have strongly refuted the opposition’s accusations of that officials connived to rig the election. The electoral commission has pledged to battle vote buying and voter intimidation, which have been widespread in Nigerian politics.
Ekiti state, a stronghold of the main opposition party, has been governed by the People’s Democratic Party since 2014, when All Progressives Congress lost its control in the gubernatorial poll.
The election was generally peaceful, apart from few pockets of violence experienced in some areas of the state.