…Wants Senator Adeyemi, Gov Bello’s aides arrested for electoral fraud
Kogi elders and members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have jointly called for the cancellation of the result of the bye-election into the vacant Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency, Kogi State over alleged electoral fraud and vote buying by the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared that APC winner of the bye-election with 26,860 votes with PDP polling 14,845 votes while a total of 19,760 registered votes were cancelled.
Addressing a joint press conference in Abuja on Sunday, the groups said through Engineer Sam Ohuetu that the election was characterized by “violence, snatching of ballot boxes, brazen impunity, coercion, intimidation and vote buying” and that the election has “sent Kogi State and Nigeria backwards by nothing less than 20 years.
They declared that appointees and key officials of the Kogi State Government who were not indigenes or voters in the Federal Constituency were seen intimidating and harassing the electorates with armed thugs and officers of SARS and the Nigerian Police.
“Accredited voters were not allowed to vote, as armed thugs shot sporadically into the air after accreditation, forcing the electorates to flee for their lives, for instance this was widespread in Osuku in Kotonkarfe Area of the Federal Constituency.
They alleged that thugs and hoodlums were imported into the constituency ahead of the election and were lodged at various times in Hotels and at the Presidential Lodge behind the Kogi State Government House, Lokoja.
“In the early hours of Saturday 11th August 2018, these thugs were mobilized to all polling ‘units in the two Local Governments (at least three to four armed thugs were mobilized to each polling unit under police supervision), some were dressed in Mufti, others in brand new Uniforms with “Special Force” encrypted and engraved on their shirts and on the caps. others were seen in white hooded caps and fully armed.
“These Youths and fearful looking able bodied men were in the company of Security operatives, especially “the SARS” and were conveyed to their various operation theatres in Kogi State Government House Vehicles. These “Special Forces” and hoodlums became the instrument used by the Kogi State Government under the instructions and supervision of its principal officials to unleash violence, snatch ballot boxes, drive away voters and opposition party agents in a desperate bid to swing the House of Representatives Bye Election in the favour of the Ruling APC.
“Whilst in some Polling Units, elections were going on in a seemingly peaceful manner, albeit with vote merchandise by the APC in collaboration with INEC ‘ and the Security operatives, these thugs invaded the said polling units and threatened the PDP and other opposition party faithful, unleashed violence on them and snatched away ballot materials to the Government House, snuffed it with votes in favour of the ruling party’s candidate and returned it back to the already compromised Electoral body in a desperate and barbaric bid to secure the votes in their favour. “
“The State Government had mapped out areas and apportioned territories within the Federal Constituency to its key officials, who would lead these thugs like battalion commanders to the polling units within their ‘territories’ and words in a bid to unleash terror, coerce the electorates, snatch ballot boxes and rig the election in favour of the Government and the ruling party’s Candidate.
“Chief amongst whom are Mr. Edward Onoja, Chief of Staff to the Governor, who supervised the violence and rigging in Ward A, Senator Smart Adeyemi who supervised the unscrupulous activities in Word B, Hon. Kolawole Mattew who mobilized armed thugs and hoodlums to Obajana and other parts of Oworo land. All these persons are not voters in the Federal Constituency neither were they indigenes thereof, they had no business in the Constituency on the day of the election, their actions and presence was in flagrant breach of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended).”
While demanding for the “outright cancellation’ of the bye election they said the 19,760 void votes most probably were for PDP which could have swayed the final outcome of the result.
They also demanded that Senator Adeyemi, Mr. Edward Onoia, Hon. Mattew Kolawole and other should be prosecuted for electoral offences.
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