YIAGA Africa calls on INEC to conduct fresh governorship, senatorial elections in Kogi

Posted by News Express | 18 November 2019 | 1,124 times

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The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA Africa) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct new elections in Kogi State, following reported cases of violence, vote-buying and manipulation of voters.

Channels TV reports YIAGA, in a statement, explained that the elections in the state did not reflect the preferences of voters because they were not given a genuine opportunity to exercise their right to vote.

According to the release, YIAGA Africa deployed a total of 548 observers for the Kogi elections with 500 polling unit observers deployed to 250 sampled polling units.

“Polling unit observers provided reports on the conduct of the Election Day process from the opening of polls to the posting of results at the polling unit level. The WTV Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) data revealed that INEC officials had arrived at 52% of the sampled polling units by 7:30 am, with accreditation and voting commencing in 79% of the sampled polling units by 9 am with essential electoral materials like the smart card reader present in 98% of polling units.

“While the PVT data demonstrated the commencement of polls in the state, the situational analysis of the process highlighted major infractions that had significant potential of impacting the credibility of the process.

“This statement on the conduct of the elections is based on WTV observation of the processes of accreditation, voting, and the counting and posting of results. This statement represents a culmination of our findings from the pre-election environment through Election Day and highlights critical incidents observed that threaten the credibility of the elections.

In respect of “the most serious of the critical incidents reported”, the organisation stated they include include “intimidation or harassment of voters and polling officials: WTV recorded intimidation and harassment of voters, observers and polling officials by unknown armed men and party agents of some identified political.

“These cases were reported in: PU 017 Ward 12 and PU 027, Ayingba Etiaga Ward Dekina LGA, PU 001 Ward C Lokoja LGA, Ojuwo Junction Market Square, Ankpa; Lokoja (PU 001, Ward C), Ofu (PU 005, Ugwalawo ward), Ankpa (Ojokwu ward 3) and Igalamela/Odolu (PU 022, ward 08) LGA.

“WTV observers were beaten and their observation checklists destroyed, and then, the process, degenerated to sporadic shooting in PU 027, Ayingba Etiaga, Dekina LGA.

“YIAGA AFRICA also received reports of intimidation of journalists and election observer groups like Inclusive Friends, Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room and Search for Common Ground in the full glare of security agencies who made no effort to forestall or reprimand the political thugs.

As regards ballot box snatching/stuffing, YIAGA said there was an “election infarction, including snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes and papers were reported and confirm in: PU 006 Anyigba ward, Dekina LGA, ASUTA WARD, AYETORO GBEDE UNIT II HIGH COURT PU, 005, Odolu Ajaka ward 1, 22/08/07/015, Oganaji LGEA Primary School, Anyigba Dekina, PU 008 (WTV Sampled PU) OLAMABORO WARD 3 CEREMONIAL SQUARE, PU 003 Ukwo Ward 01 OLUBUN PU, ASUTA WARD, PU 003, Obaji Ward 1, Kogi K. K LGA, PU001, Ejule/Alla Ward, Ofu LGA, PU001, Ogaki Ward 06, PU-002,Aiyetoro Gbede, PU-003,Ilemo Mopamuro, PU-004,Lokoja.

On vote buying/bribery, YIAGA AFRICA also received reports on vote suppression manifested in the form of denying voters access to polling units by political thugs. This was prevalent in: At Aluaja, Iyano Ward in Ibaji LGA, Lagazi/Fam Center ward which has about 5 Polling units situated closely, LEA Primary Atsagba and Central Primary School gboloko, PU 005, AGOR, PU 006, Ward 01 Ediya – North, Ajaokuta LGA, PU 010, Ward 01, Ankpa Township ward, PU001 Ugwoda Ward, Idah LGA, PU007 Itale II, Iyano Ward, Ibaji LGA, PU009, Ward 03 Kogi KK, PU- 01,Odole 1 Mopamuro, WARD 007 UNIT 5 IN ISANLU, YAGBA EAST, ward 08, PU 01 Isanlu, Yagba East, Ward- 10 Nadazi farm centre PU 003, PU-005 Ward- Lokoja B,

Accreditation of people without using Card Reader: Aiyekpele 1 and 2.

PU 022/08/08/002. Aipkele 1 and 2 Open space, Ajaka Ward 2 Igalamela/Odolu, AT THE PU ATI-AJA, 2, PU 027 AYINGBA, Barrak 2 PU 002, Adumudume Dekina, GRA CML Primary school, Anyigba Dekina, PU 009 IN ANYINGBA COMMERCIAL SECONDARY SCHOOL, PU 004, Ugwolawo Ward 1, 05, PU 005 Ward-Deregu, Ganadga Ajaokuta, PU 005 Ugwulawo Ward 10, Ofu LGA, SAMPLED P.U, Ward- Odo Egbe 2 PU-005, Egbe Yagba West

Violence and Attack on Observer Groups. WTV observers were unable to observe election day processes due to issues of violence in or near the polling units in Dekina, Ankpa, Okene, Lokoja and Ibaji LGAs.

The critical incidents reported highlight some of the key challenges associated with the conduct of the Kogi 2019 governorship and senatorial election.

The organisation therefore, has condemned the violence and brigandage in some polling units resulting in disruption of voting.

“YIAGA AFRICA called on INEC to cancel elections in those polling units where there were cases of snatching of ballot papers/boxes, violence, and disruption of the polling,” it stated.

“In the spirit of transparency, YIAGA AFRICA called on INEC to make public the list of polling units where elections are canceled. YIAGA also called on security agencies to ensure adequate security was provided to voters and INEC in order to complete the process of voting, results collation and declaration,” it said.


Source: News Express

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