Vote-buying, Ballot-snatching, Other Irregularities Mar Kogi bye-election
Reports coming from the field have indicated that the Kogi state bye election which started peacefully has been marred by vote buying, ballot-snatching and violence in the Lokoja-Kogi Federal Constituency.
News sources confirmed that the election was marred by political thugs going from one polling unit to another to perpetrate fraud in the presence of security agents; the policemen and other security agents attached to the polling units conveniently looked the other way as thugs’ harassed people who came out to vote.
Voting could not hold at the polling unit at Paparanda Square, because thugs invaded the venue, snatched election materials and beat up people queuing to vote.
The same scenario played out at polling units at Mary Primary School, Karaworo, Adnakolo as well as Crowther Secondary School, where the political thugs disrupted the voting process.
Almost the same scenario played itself out at Adankolo, where several thugs threw stones on people queueing to cast their votes at one of the polling units, chasing them away; some of the voters’ vehicle windscreens were smashed.
There was massive vote buying at St. Peter’s Primary School, Felele, Kogi; voters were seen receiving N2, 000 each after being certified to have voted for particular candidates in full view of several officials of the Kogi state Government who were sighted moving from one polling unit to another in convoys, accompanied by heavily armed policemen as well as other security operatives.
Reacting to the disturbing news, the Federal Commissioner of INEC in charge of Kogi, Niger and Nasarawa States, Alhaji Mohammed Haruna, disclosed that election results would be cancelled in areas where violence was recorded.
“INEC will review every case of violence, ballot snatching, voter intimidation and vote buying and take appropriate action,’’ he stated.
The INEC boss further stated that the rules guiding conduct of elections in Nigeria were clear, noting that election would be voided at any polling unit where rules had been violated.
Recall that massive vote buying also marred the recently concluded Governorship election in Ekiti State where the APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi was declared winner. His Opponent, PDP candidate, Olushola Elekha has challenged the victory in court.