Natasha Akpoti, the candidate of the of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the Kogi State governorship election, and YIAGA AFRICA, a Civil Society organization, have called for the cancellation of he gubernatorial polls, citing wide-spread irregularities that prevailed during the exercise.
The SDP candidate in a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) called on the commission to cancel the election, especially in Kogi Central Senatorial District and some other part of Lokoja, and order for a rerun.
She pointed out that irregularities, intimidation, violence amongst other were witnessed during the election.
On its part, YIAGA AFRICA noted that during the election voters by-passed the accreditation processes, card readers were not used for verifying the PVC and fingerprint of some voters in polling unit across the LGAs and disruption of election in the polling units processes in PU 0150 Behira-Ugee ward , Okene LGA and PU 027, Anyigba Etiaga Dekina LGA.
It called on INEC to cancel election in polling units with cases of snatching of ballot paper/boxes, violence and disruption, saying that in the spirit of transparency INEC should make public the list of polling units where elections are cancelled.
In her petition addressed to the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, Akpoti said election did not hold in 780 polling units in Kogi Central as result of violence by APC thugs whom she said attacked voters, electoral officials, and destroyed electoral materials.
“The APC-led thugs were shooting at voters which resulted in the death of voters. The thugs in most cases were shielded by security agents who are supposed to provide security for the citizenry.
“What happened in Kogi Central and other part of the state is a far-cry from a credible election. Ballot boxes were destroyed and burnt in Okene, Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori Magongo and Okehi local government areas and other part of the state.
“SDP agents were chased away from the various polling units of Kogi Central Senatorial, in some polling units SDP agents were tied with ropes by APC thugs in Okene local government. Our agents were not even allowed to come near the polling units as APC thugs were seen brandishing guns and announcing to voters not come and vote unless they were to only vote APC”, the petition said.
The petition also stated that at some polling units, there were no result sheet, 2015 stamped ballot papers were used in the conduct of the election and in most cases SDP was written with pencil on the result sheet. “Ballot papers already thumb-printed by voters in Favour SDP already tucked into the ballot boxes were sorted out by APC-led thugs and burnt”.
“The election as it is now cannot pass the test of fairness and credibility. Whatever gains INEC seem to have achieved in the conduct of elections in the past will be completely eroded if the election in Kogi Central Senatorial District and some other parts of Kogi State is allowed to stand,” she concluded.