Youths of Kogi State on Wednesday, marched, in their numbers to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja to declare their utmost confidence in the umpire and also affirm their support for the Governor-elect of the state, Usman Ododo.
They warned mischief makers in the state, under the guise of opposition parties, to desist from blackmailing the INEC. They also said that the people of Kogi State “stand by the mandate given to the duly elected Governor, Usman Ododo,” stressing that ethnic agenda had been nailed in the state and would not have a place again in its polity as they commended the “people of kogi East who refused to be misled by those pursuing their own selfish interests at the expense of the collective good of the entire people of kogi State.”
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as “Ododo is Kogi Agenda”, “The people of Kogi have spoken on November 11”, “INEC, Kogi youths are saying thank you”, and “Kogi has decided”, among others, said they would continue to gather at the INEC headquarters for as long as those they described as “dubious politicians” continued their “evil misinformation”.
Abdulrahman Umar, one of the protesters said they were at the INEC headquarters to commend the authorities, including the security agencies for making the last election in the state the most peaceful and fairest in in the history of Kogi State.
“We will never allow criminals and election robbers to go away with misinformation. We all have a voice in Kogi State and the voice of truth is always louder no matter how hard they try. We have spoken loudly on November 11, and we will continue to speak until we stamp out ethnicity in our dear state,” he said.
Another lady protester, Asmau Idris, said Kogi indigenes were surprised when some people came out to say they were protesting against the INEC on Saturday’s election and that they decided to come en masse to Abuja to truncate “the evil agenda”.
“They told us to come out and vote. We voted en masse for our choice. It was free and fair. What else do they want? We will tell them that we all own Kogi State. The Okuns are with us in this struggle; the Central are with us; and the Igalas are with us. Our mandate must be protected,” she said.
Other youths and stakeholders of the state who spoke at the rally vowed to remain at the headquarters every day for as long as the action was needed, stressing that Kogi State was united and not divided.
INEC, last Sunday, declared Ododo Ahmed Usman of the All Progressives Congress as the Governor-elect of Kogi State, having won the governorship election with a wide margin and satisfied all requirements. He polled a total of 446,237 votes to defeat other candidates.
Addressing the protesters, National Commissioner and Chairman, Security Committee of INEC, Maj. Gen. Modibbo Alkali (retd), appreciated their cooperation with the Commission and reiterated that the off-cycle elections conducted in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states were conducted fairly and credibly, in line with laid down guidelines.