By Ishaq Dan-Imam, Lokoja
The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has tasked security agencies in Nigeria to carry out covert operations on election day to arrest vote Buyers and Sellers during the November 11 off-season Governorship election in Kogi State.
The Executive Director of CTA, Ms Faith Ossai Nwadishi, stated this in Lokoja on Tuesday, during a stakeholders engagement on preparations for kogi governorship election in November.
Nwadishi, while calling on the election stakeholders and citizens to shun Vote Buying and forms of Voter inducement in Kogi State, says the negative use of money to influence voters choice in election, usurps the will of the people as a form of rigging election through monetary inducement.
Nwadishi, urged the citizens to work harder towards election security in the state amid fears of election violence.
According to the Executive Director of CTA, Mrs Faith Ossai Nwadishi, the Police and partner agencies should increase the synergy with other stakeholders through continuous engagement with the grassroots to ensure maximum protection of citizens on election day.
“Security is a critical aspect of electoral process that requires attention during the entire electoral process and the election management Body (INEC) has recently raised an alarm and fears, indicating that insecurity may pose a great challenge to the governorship election.
“Citizens too have had cause to worry over the issue of insecurity in the state, and if this is unchecked, may discourage citizens from coming out to exercise their franchise on election day,” Nwadishi, said.
Nwadishi says CTA will be glad with the process if the security agencies share important information with other stakeholders especially on the flash points by ensuring that their are properly trained in accordance with the election security personnel (ESP) training manual; the electoral security personnel (ESP) training facilitators Guide; the electoral security (ESP) Handbook and the Basic Security in Election Duty (BaSED) Handbook to ensure professional conduct of security personnel on election duty.
On voters inducement and influence of money in elections, the civil society activist, says the symbolic presence of law enforcement agents at polling units during previous elections, has not deterred ‘Vote Buying.’
“It’s important that a more result-oriented method like covert operations be adopted to curb the negative use of money to influence votes, including the criminal purchases of PVCs by Politicians.
“We advise that citizens shun vote buying and selling, which undermines the election and as such, candidates should campaign based on issues and avoid heating up the polity and creating fears in the hearts of people who want to vote. Also, security agencies should assure the masses of adequate protection within the election periods.”
The CTA says one of the great challenges faced by INEC on election days is the movement of personnel and materials, adding that, “The delays in the transportation of election materials and personnel has severely hampered operations, leading to delay in commencement of elections, and for this reason that the election commission signed the first MoU with the national union of road transport workers in January, 2015 to ease movement of election materials and personnel on election day.
“We appeal to the road transport workers union in Nigeria to keep an eye on their members to ensure materials and personnel are delivered to designated locations right on time without delays,” CTA implored the executives of the NURTW who handle transportation of election materials and personnel during elections in Nigeria.
A member of CTA advisory board, Prince Babatunde Oluajo, emphasized on the importance of continuous engagement with the grassroots to increase awareness on election transparency, greater political participation, peace building and security. He urged security agencies to be proactive in dealing with the security challenges ahead of the election.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) says it will deploy a total of 12,000 Civil Defense Operatives to man the polling stations in Kogi State, while the Nigeria Immigration Service, says irregular Migrants resident in the state will be prevented from participating in the elections as the irregular migrants are being raided at Ankpa, Dekina, Obajana, Kabba and Ijumu Communities with large number of Foreigners resident in the state.
According to CTA, INEC record shows that the number of registered voters in Kogi state stands at 1,932,654 and a significant number of these voters have collected their PVCs totaling 1,813,741 voters expected to cast their votes across the 239 electoral Wards, and 3,508 polling units in the state.
KONGONET condemns violent attack on Kogi REC, calls for investigation
***Says, attack senseless, reprehensible, affront to democracy.
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
KOGI NGOs Network (KONGONET) has condemned in strong terms, the Friday morning attack on the residence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kogi state, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet.
In a statement signed by Amb. Idris Ozovehe Muraina, Chairperson KONGONET, made available to newsmen on Friday in Lokoja, the Network described the attack as senseless, reprehensible and an attack on democracy.
“We, the members of Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), express our utmost condemnation and outrage over the heinous and senseless attack on the residence of the REC of Kogi State, perpetrated by unidentified gunmen in Lokoja.
“This reprehensible act of violence against a public servant is not only an attack on the individual but also an assault on the democratic principles that underpin our society.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner will play a crucial role in ensuring transparent electoral litigation processes as the head of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State.
“Targeting such a key figure is an affront to the integrity of our electoral process and an attack on the democratic fabric of our nation.
“We demand that the authorities take immediate action to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice”, he said.
Muraina urged security agencies to conduct a thorough and diligent investigation into the attack on the residence of the REC saying it was imperative that the actors behind the heinous act were swiftly identified and brought to justice.
The KONGONET Chairperson noted that an attack on a public official entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring free, fair, and credible elections was an attack on the very foundation of our democracy.
“We call upon the security agencies, particularly the police and relevant investigative bodies to allocate the necessary resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate this incident.
“It is crucial that no stone is left unturned in uncovering the truth and apprehending those responsible for this senseless act of violence.
“The residents of Kogi State and Nigerians at large deserve to know the truth behind this attack. We demand a transparent and unbiased investigation that leaves no room for doubt or suspicion.
“KONGONET reiterates its commitment to the principles of justice, accountability, and transparency. We stand firmly against any act of violence that seeks to disrupt the democratic process and undermine the peace and stability of our state”, he said.
Thugs loyal to Gov Yahaya Bello behind attacks on Kogi REC, Kogi SDP alleges
The Muri/Sam Campaign Council under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has condemned the assassination attempt on Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet, the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state.
The Campaign Council and the party allegea1d that the attack was carried out by thugs loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.
In a statement issued by Isaiah Davies Ijele, the Director of New Media of the council acknowledged thatthe timely intervention of the Army, prevented potential tragedy.
The Council called for thorough investigation to fish out those involved in the assault on the INEC Resident Commissioner.
The Council also demanded swift action from the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, urging impartiality and caution against targeting SDP members over the incident.
The statement reads:
”We strongly condemn the assassination attempt on the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, which took place in Lokoja at approximately 2:00 am this morning, December 1st, 2023. The attack was carried out by thugs who are loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.
”Election should not be treated as a war, nor should it be a matter of life and death. If the election was won fairly and transparently, then the legal process should be allowed to run its course without interference.
”However, it is unacceptable for thugs, in their high numbers yesterday, to be subject to fake protests, insisting that, on no account should forensic teams be allowed to do their jobs.
”We are grateful for the timely intervention of the Army, as the man and his family could have been wiped out overnight. The attackers also burnt his vehicles and took other valuables. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in a democratic society.
”Those individuals who have been involved in these attacks on INEC REC must be held accountable for their actions. We call for all those who have been involved in the protests, inciting violence and making provocative statements, to be apprehended and brought to justice.
”The Kogi State Commissioner of Police Bethrand Onuoha must carry out his duties by arresting the culprits and holding them accountable. We also urge the Commissioner of Police to refrain from victimizing loyal members of SDP and focus on finding the actual offenders.
”We stand with Dr. Longpet and his family during this difficult time, and we will continue to work towards a peaceful and transparent electoral process.
”Murtala Yakubu Ajaka and his Party SDP are not protesting anywhere around the nation as we are already in court to seek redress, and as such; we call on Commissioner Bethrand Onuoha to arrest those protesters in the name of SDP and its Candidate Murtala Yakubu Ajaka if he’s an accomplice of the protest.”
Attack on Kogi REC: APC calls for immediate arrest of SDP candidate, Ajaka
BY Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Campaign Council in Kogi state has called on the Nigeria Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies to immediately effect the arrest of Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governorship candidate in the just concluded November 11 off-cycle election.
In what it described as the slide into anarchy in the state, the APC Campaign Council, said Ajaka and his supporters allegedly masterminded the attack on the residence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lokoja in the early hours of Friday.
Mr Kingsley Femi Fanwo, Director of Media and Publicity/Spokesperson for the Campaign Council, Kingsley Fanwo, who made the allegations at an emergency press briefing on Friday, said SDP was trying desperately to cover the “heist committed in Kogi East” in corrupting INEC documents.
The APC Campaign Council said the attack was perpetrated days after it alerted the nation of plans of SDP thugs to attack INEC.
“The same arsonists also had an attempt to burn down the Kogi State Government House foiled by our eagle-eye security agents. The same attempt was foiled at the State APC Secretariat in Lokoja.”
“They have finally done their worst by attacking the residence of the Kogi State INEC Commissioner, engaging security agents in a fierce gun battle and eventually burning down some vehicles in the residence and in the area.”
The Campaign Council alleged that the SDP candidate and his “collaborators” were attempting to corrupt certain documents in INEC before handing them to their legal team.
“We have no problem allowing legal teams to access documents and materials. It is the norm. But we won’t allow any desperate blood thirsty politician tamper with the true verdict of the Kogi people.
“The bold-face criminality being perpetrated by the defeated SDP candidate and his violent gang of criminals was as a result of the lack of consequences over the gruesome killing of an APC supporter, Khadijat, at Kotonkarfe by agents of the SDP. They had imported thugs from neighbouring states into Kogi.
“They shamelessly came out to say Khadijat was bearing an arm. Till date, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his gun welding killers have been moving freely on the streets.
“If they had been arrested for killing an innocent woman, they wouldn’t have had the gut to attempt to attack the Kogi Resident Electoral Commissioner.
“We also told the world of plans by the SDP to burn down the INEC Office in Lokoja. We thank the Police and other security agencies for protecting the INEC Office.
“Frustrated by the watertight security around INEC, the gun throttling SDP criminals went to the residence of the Kogi State INEC Commissioner in an attempt to kill him.
“They were engaged in a fierce gun battle and they resorted to burning vehicles and other valuables around the area.
“After their violent protests a few days ago, our people have also moved to Lokoja to ensure their mandate is protected. Resorting to assassination and arson will never help the Social Democratic Party and their confused candidate”, he said.
Fanwo said now was the right time to arrest Ajaka before “he throws Kogi into a state of anomie. Democracy is the expression of the wishes of the people. Those wishes have been expressed and no amount of bullets can silence the voice of the ballot.
“We are calling on the Police, DSS and other security agencies to immediately arrest the slide to anarchy by arresting Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his co-swimmers in the pool of violence.
“We have cautioned our supporters to remain calm and the call will be more effective if the anarchists are immediately apprehended and prosecuted”, Fanwo said. (Ends)
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