Voting has ended in many polling units in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states for the governorship elections in the three states.
Voting ended around 3 p.m. in polling units observed by correspondents in the three states.
Electoral officials thereafter crossed the unused ballot papers as stipulated in the electoral law.
The exercise has moved into sorting and counting votes.
In most polling units monitored by our correspondents on Saturday, voter accreditation and voting commenced simultaneously at 8:00 a.m.
This followed the arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at polling units with sensitive and non-sensitive materials.
The decision of who will become the next governor of the three states rests on the electorate, as over five million voters in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states go to the polls today.
Some analysts have said that the governors of the three states for the next four years will be determined by youths and the middle-aged, as they form over 60 percent of the total number of PVCs collected in the three states.
In Imo State, INEC gave the figure of registered voters as 2,419,922, and Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected as 2,318,919, with youths and middle-aged demographic groups having 33% (801K) and 32% (783K).
In Kogi, the total number of registered voters is 1,932,654 and PVCs collected are 1,833,160, with youths taking a lump 44% (850k) and the middle-aged having 32% (341k)
For Bayelsa, the total number of registered voters is 1,056,862, while the total PVCs collected are 1,017,613, with youths taking 42% (439K) and middle-aged people having 40% (424K).
Sixteen political parties are sponsoring candidates for the election in Bayelsa and 18 in both Imo and Kogi. The elections will be held in 10,470 polling units across the 56 local government areas in the three states (excluding the 40 polling units without registered voters).
The electoral umpire deployed nine Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and two national commissioners to each of the three states for Saturday’s governorship elections.
INEC also deployed 46,000 staff of the commission to the three states, while sensitive and non-sensitive materials, including Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines, have arrived at the polling units.
The electoral umpire has also assured voters that the Result Viewing Portal (IReV) would work today despite the glitches experienced with the technology in the February 25, 2023, presidential poll.
Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State and Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State are seeking re-election in their respective states, while Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is out of the ballot, nearing the completion of his double terms of eight years.
Some of the top contenders in the November 11, 2023, poll in Kogi include Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP); Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Party (ADC); Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); and Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who is an ex-Auditor General of Local Government in Kogi under Bello.
For Imo, PDP’s Samuel Anyanwu, Labour Party’s Achonu Nneji, Jack Ogunewe of the Action Alliance, and All Progressives Grand Alliance’s Ejiogu Anthony, among others, will be challenging APC’s Uzodimma at the poll, while in Bayelsa, APC’s Timipre Sylva, amongst others, will slug it out at the poll with PDP’s Diri.
See more photos: