Nigeria

Kogi/ Bayelsa Polls: 62 Chairmen Of Political Parties Say Police, Politicians Responsible For Violence

Says INEC not responsible for issues that marred the elections in the two states
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Sixty-two Chairmen of Nigeria Political Parties under the aegis of Forum of Chairmen of Nigeria Political Parties on Monday has stated that the Nigerian Police and Politicians are responsible for the cases of violence recorded during the November 16 Kogi and Bayelsa elections.

The forum, after a review of the conduct of the elections in the two states, has however absolved the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC from the crisis.

It said that the political party Chairmen after reviewing the  Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections came up to make emphatic and categorical conclusion that the election was a serious dent on the progress made so far in enshrining free and fair election.

Reading a Communique at the end of a meeting of the Chairmen in Abuja, National Chairman of Action Alliance, AA, Barrister Kenneth Udeze said that in spite of reported cases of violence, especially in Kogi State, the Police never made arrest to serve as  deterrent to others, just as he  decried a situation where there were no reports of any arrest that were made on polling day by the police to stop the gun-wielding thugs who stormed many polling centres.

Udeze, who noted that despite the thousands of security personnel deployed to Kogi and Bayelsa for the elections, it can be stated that thugs had a field day particularly in Kogi State, where their activities played a major role in determining who was eventually declared to have won the election.

At the briefing which had in attendance over 60 party chairmen, including Hon. Perry Opara, National Unity Party (NUP), and Alhaji Adamu Takai (Advanced Congress of Democrats); the Chairman of the Action Alliance (AA),  among others, the forum also called for an urgent conclusion of the process of the amendment of the Electoral Act, introducing electronic transmission of results straight from the Polling Units to a central database and electronic accreditation figures to ensure that magical and humongous figures are not generated and if possible electronic voting. He said,

“The failure of the elections was not caused by administrative lapses or inefficiency of the INEC; but by the treasonable actions of security agencies (Nigeria Army and Nigeria Police) who compromised the process and aided political thugs to disrupt the entire process and cart away electoral materials.

“The Collation Centres were made inaccessible to duly accredited observers and agents of other political parties except those that were allowed by the thugs; while over 35,000 policemen watched helplessly and haplessly.”

He stated that while they Chairmen of the political parties who are the sponsors of the candidates for these elections desire free and fair elections, the security agents did not live up to their expectations.

“The Forum of Chairmen of Nigeria Political Parties also concludes that the role of security agencies particularly the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Army during the November 16th Governorship elections Kogi and Bayelsa states were largely reprehensible.

“Men in police uniforms were seen aiding thugs to carry ballot boxes and other materials from the centres and abducting polling staff”, he said.

He stated that the 35,200 policemen deployed to Kogi State were all either standing by watching or were active participants guarding the thugs to carry the election materials and disrupt a hitherto peaceful and well-organized process.

He, however, noted that it was disheartening to hear the Inspector General of Police announced to journalists that the Police got intelligence about the plans of politicians to sew Police uniforms but rather than announce what the Police did to checkmate these criminals and even arrest them for possible prosecution, he announced that the Police made tags for further identification of their officers.

Adelowo Adegboyega
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