By Dada Ahmed (NAN)
No fewer than 1.6 million eligible voters in Kogi state will file at the various polling booths on Nov.16 to elect one of the 24 candidates vying for the governorship position in the state.
Public analysts caution that campaigns and intrigues preceding elections by political actors usually result in the disruption of peace.
According to them, there ought to be standby security measures to nip in the bud any security fallouts from the activities of members of political parties and their followers.
Analysts observe further that few days to the election, news platforms are awash with somewhat reports of activities that are threats to peace and security of lives in some areas of Kogi.
As politicians begin campaigns to the 21 local government areas of the state canvassing for votes, observers say it is fundamental for security stakeholders to check utterances that can result in crisis.
The people contend that the political trend in the state has brought palpable fear among the generality of the people and may contribute to political apathy, if not checked on time.
Few says into the election, residents of Lokoja, the state capital, woke up to the news of the burning of the secretariat of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), allegedly by some political thugs.
The SDP in neighbouring Ondo State says the attack by some thugs on the party’s secretariat in Kogi is a threat to the nation’s democracy.
Mr Dele Ogunbameru, Chairman, SDP Reconciliation and Development Committee in Ondo State, describes the attack as barbaric and a setback to the nation’s political development.
“The burning of the Kogi State SDP Secretariat by some political thugs is a threat to our nascent democracy which should be condemned by all no matter the political bias,” he says.
The secretariat, located in the heart of the town, now exists in its shadow as all its facilities have been either destroyed or burnt, leaving it in ruins.
The SDP candidate in the planned election, Natasha Akpoti, during her visit to the office, expressed outrage over the damage that visited the secretariat and traced the development to political intolerance, among others.
There are also instances of political crises involving bloodletting and death giving the notion in some quarters that the election may not be as peaceful as peace-loving people of the state envisage.
Members of the traditional institution in the state are not less concern over the frightening political atmosphere in Kogi as they have also expressed disgust with warning to stem the ugly tide.
The Olumagongo of Magongoland, Obin Sam Bola Ojo, in apparent move to ward off the gale of crisis-ridden campaign has said that whoever brings violence to his kingdom during the poll will be dealt with.
Concerned citizens see political peace in Kogi as a collective responsibility, starting from the political actors, their followers, the electorate and other stakeholders.
The Olumagongo calls on youths not to use their hands to destroy their tomorrow but think of a green tomorrow than the peanuts given them by people who will give them guns to harm their fellow brothers and sisters.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, sees peace in the forthcoming poll in political actors in Kogi, stressing that the unity and peaceful coexistence of the state are not negotiable.
The minister made the call when a delegation of Kogi Political Triangle, led by Adamu Shuiabu, paid her a visit in her office in Abuja.
She emphasised the need to build bridges among the different ethnic groups in the state, noting that peace was a daunting task but achievable.
“There is nothing we can achieve without peace. Kogi is blessed with ingenious and competent men and women.
“We are doing well in building the nation, and nation building is a collective responsibility,’’ she said.
Members of the entertainment industry are not left out in the collective effort to ensure peaceful Kogi poll as veteran Nigerian music star, Innocent Ujah Idibia (2Face), has also shown concern for a peaceful governorship in the state.
He went to Lokoja to preach peace and ensure a violence-free governorship election on Nov. 16.
The music icon, who is championing “Vote not fight, election no be war’’ campaign, said that he was in Lokoja to preach peace and to see that youths were not used by fraudulent politicians for their selfish interest.
In all, political analysts believe that there is need for politicians to think Kogi first, eschew political differences and ensure unity of the state.
According to them, the fear of God remains fundamental in finding lasting solution to the political problem of Kogi before the election and after.
Governorship election: Checking violence, disruption in Kogi
By Dada Ahmed (NAN)