Ahead today’s governorship election in Kogi State, the security challenge that could cast a slur on the entire process took the front burner on Friday.
Suspected gunmen dressed in police uniforms on Friday stormed the Suitoral Hotel, Lokoja, the state capital where Oyo state governor and Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council, Seyi Makinde, was lodged.
The masked gunmen could not gain access into the main hotel as they were repelled by security men attached to Governor Makinde.
Saturday Tribune checks however revealed that Governor Makinde was not the target as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Musa Wada, was within the precincts of the hotel to hold discussion with his guest, Governor Makinde.
The Director of Publicity of the PDP Campaign Council, Farouk Adejoh, who confirmed the attack said that about 50 of the men dressed in police uniform came into the hotel, wanted to abduct the governorship candidate of the PDP who was in the same hotel.
Adejoh said “I can confirm to you that the hotel was attacked by hooded men in police uniform. They came in tinted buses but our security details repelled them.
“We have been complaining that there are so many tinted vehicles that are not registered in the state and two days ago, the Commissioner of Police said such vehicles should be impounded. But these men came in those tinted vehicles.”
The Commissioner of Police Kogi State Command, Hakeem Busari said the Police got information of the attack at Suitorial Hotel but denied that there was an attack on Oyo State governor.
Amidst the fear of violence, senior officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) called on the electorate to come out and vote today (Saturday) saying police would provide adequate security.
INEC National Commissioner for Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa, Alhaji Mohammed Haruna and Resident Electoral Commissioner for Kogi State, Professor James Apam gave the assurance at separate sessions with Saturday Tribune.
Alhaji Haruna said adequate security men were on ground to foil plans of hoodlums who might want to undermine the electoral process.
He said: “You have gone round, you people should be telling me because so far it has been very calm, police has given us every assurance that it would remain the same.
“You know usually the problem is when results starts coming in that is when problem starts but we hope this time like everybody has prayed it would be a different ball game this time around.
“People should come out and vote. There are of course apprehensions, the tension is there, it is palpable but if people come out in enough numbers even those who want to perpetrate violence would be afraid. It is only when a few people turn up that there would be problem so people should come out in their huge numbers and vote for whom they want to vote to rule the State.”
The REC also expressed the hope that the election would be violence free. Professor Apam said security men were already doing surveillance in local government areas identified as troubled zones or flash points.
“ We have not heard anything. We even have some of our colleagues who came from other States moving round; we have posted them to some of those Local Governments.”
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