An election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to cancel the gubernatorial and senatorial elections in Kogi State; saying the exercise was marred by vote-buying, ballot box snatching, intimidation of voters and thuggery.
This is even as it fingered political parties and security personnel, especially the police of watching helplessly why thugs carried out devious activities.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, Its Chairman, Watching the Vote – Kogi Observation Mission, Hussaini Abdu, added that political parties failed to contest the polls democratically.
According to Abdu, “such cases were reported in: PU 017 Ward 12 and PU 027, Ayingba Etiaga Ward Dekina LGA, PU 001 Ward C Lokoja LGA, Ojuwo Junction Market Square, Ankpa; Lokoja (PU 001, Ward C), Ofo (PU 005, Ugwalawo Ward), Ankpa (Ojokwu Ward 3) and Igalamela/Odolu (PU 002, ward 08) LGA.
“The challenges in Kogi State 2019 gubernatorial elections squarely lies on the role and failures of security agencies, the police in particular, political parties, the major candidates and their state and non-state accomplices. These stakeholders deliberately worked to undermine the election.
“The people of Kogi have not been given the opportunity to fully exercise their rights to vote. As a result, the results of these elections, regardless of the outcome cannot be said to reflect the preferences of voters in Kogi.
“In such circumstance, Yiaga Africa call upon INEC to conduct a thorough investigation of the conduct of Kogi governorship and senatorial elections and to conduct a new election that gives voters a genuine opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” he said.
Meanwhile, its Executive Director, Samson Itodo, explained that ordinarily, Yiaga Africa would have waited for the results to be announced, but the widespread irregularities necessitated the its outcome.