Civil society groups have come out to say that security agencies, including the police, were part of the rigging and manipulation of Saturday’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The Centre for Democracy and Development and the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities blasted the security operatives for allegedly partnering with state officials to ridicule the electoral process in both states.
Showing a report on the elections to journalists in Abuja on Monday, the CDD Executive Director, Idayat Hassan revealed that several voters could not vote because their lives were threatened.
Her words, “The election was violently and crudely undermined by an unrelenting band of partisan outlaws,”
“The sheer magnitude of the violent assault on the sanctity of the ballot was shocking beyond description. The outcome of such a process that was so criminally subverted should not be allowed to stand.
“At the last count, our observer report from Kogi State had recorded the death of 10 people in various shooting incidents and attacks across the state. This has combined to damage the credibility of the polls.”
“The incidents range from hijack of electoral materials by thugs, kidnap of INEC ad hoc staff, vote-buying, ballot snatching, attack on observers and journalists and under-age voting.”
In Bayelsa State, the CDD director disclosed that the elections recorded thuggery, shooting, vote-buying, coordinated attacks against the voting environment, especially in opposition strongholds, plus impersonation by voters.
“The conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa polls is indicative of an electoral environment that is fast deteriorating. The two major parties engaged in electoral misconduct. An interrogation of the turnout figure declared in Okene and Adavi local government areas could not stand proper scrutiny.”
The Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, David Anyaele also said that INEC did not provide special aids in a lot of polling units for voters with a disability.
His words, “What happened during the governorship and Kogi West senatorial elections were not an election but warfare to capture Kogi State, as the elections cannot be said to be free, fair, credible nor inclusive.
“Based on the level of violence experienced by voters in Kogi State in the presence of over 31, 000 men and women of the Nigeria Police, we call on Nigerians to demand accountability on the role of the Nigeria Police on the insecurity that characterised the elections.”