YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to investigate the Kogi governorship and senatorial elections conducted on Saturday, November 16, 2019.
The election observer group also called for a new election that would provide opportunity for genuine voters to exercise their right to vote.
The call was made by the Chair, YIAGA AFRICA Watching the Vote, Kogi observation mission, Dr. Hussaini Abdu and executive director of YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo while presenting the Watching The Vote (WTV) statement on the conduct of the governorship and Kogi West senatorial district election in Abuja yesterday.
According to them “On this particular election, while we believe that there has been significant improvement in the conduct of elections in the country, especially in INEC’s conduct and processes, we note some drawbacks in election logistics management, quality of election personnel; integrity and transparency of the results collation.
Critical incidences reported by YIAGA Africa include “Intimidation or harassment of voters and polling officials, ballot box snatching/stuffing, election infarction, including snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes and papers reported and confirmed 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”.
Other incidences include vote buying/bribery, violence and attack on observer groups and accreditation of people without using card reader recorded at 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
YIAGA stated that the people of Kogi have not been given the opportunity to fully exercise their right to vote. As a result, the results of these elections, regardless of the outcome cannot be said to reflect the preferences of voters in Kogi.
YIAGA AFRICA called on INEC “to conduct a thorough investigation of the conduct of the Kogi governorship and senatorial elections and that perpetrators of violence and their sponsors should be arrested and prosecuted.
They noted that the unacceptable vote procurement (vote buying) and violence perpetrated by the systematically recruited and prepared party officials and thugs were carried out under the full glare of the almost non-chalant security officials. They acted helplessly as if they were under instruction not to respond to the situation, if not already prepared to support the brigandage.
Recall that YIAGA AFRICA deployed a total of 548 observers for the Kogi elections, with 500 observers deployed to 250 sampled polling units. Polling unit observers provided reports on the conduct of the election, from the opening of polls to the posting of results at the polling unit level.