A civil society organisation (NGO), one of the accredited observers for the Kogi State Governorship elections has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to cancel Saturdays elections in Kogi State
YIAGA Africa in a statement issued Sunday and made available to NewsWireNGR, accused the political parties and security agencies of compromising the credibility of the governorship and senatorial elections.
For an election to reflect the will of the people, the group insists on a total cancellation of the process conducted so far.
According to the statement jointly signed by the Executive Director, Samson Itodo, “YIAGA AFRICA calls upon INEC to conduct a thorough investigation of the conduct of the Kogi governorship and senatorial elections and to conduct a new election that gives voters a genuine opportunity to exercise their right to vote.” the statement reads in parts.
The statement also called for the arrests and prosecution of the Perpetrators of violence and their sponsors while pointing to actions by stakeholders that undermined the entire process, “The challenges in Kogi state 2019 gubernatorial elections squally lies on the 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,” .
“They appeared to be more concerned about electoral victory than the credibility and legitimacy of the process. The unacceptable vote buying and violence perpetrated by the systematically recruited and prepared party officials and thugs were carried out under the full glare of the almost nonchalant security officials.” the group maintained.
For the Kogi elections, “YIAGA AFRICA deployed a total of 548 observers for the Kogi elections with 500 polling unit observers deployed to 250 sampled polling units. Polling unit observers provided reports on the conduct of the election day process from the opening of polls to the posting of results at the polling unit level,”.
The group said, “While Watching The Vote’s (WTV) Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) data demonstrated the commencement of polls in the state, the situational analysis of the process highlighted major infractions that had significant potential of impacting the credibility of the process.
Watching The Vote team of the organisation expressed concern about the possible impact of this stockpiling and recruitment on the conduct of peaceful elections in the state, especially given the lack of response by security agencies before the elections. “The PREO findings indicated a trend of voter inducement, including the purchase of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and voter information details”, the reports reads.
It added, that“They (security agencies) acted helplessly as if they were under instruction not to respond to the situation, if not already prepared to support the brigandage. As a result, the results of these elections cannot be said to reflect the preferences of voters in Kogi.
YIAGA is not alone, the Nigerian Bar Association on Sunday also condemned the Saturday governorship elections in Kogi State as falling below the minimum standard of a credible election.
This was contained in the report of the NBA’s Election Working Group signed by its Chairman, Afam Osigwe.
“The credibility of the entire process was put in issue by the overwhelming incidents of harassment and intimidation of voters and electoral officials, destruction of electoral materials, snatching of ballot boxes and votes and the killings of persons.
The report reads in parts, “In light of the large scale acts of violence, disruptions of the electoral process, snatching of electoral materials by armed persons some of whom were dressed in police uniform, coupled with sporadic gunshots that scared voters away from voting centres, as observed by the NBA EWG, the elections in Kogi State failed to meet the minimum standards of a credible election.”