Troubling images are proceeding from Kogi State where a video of a local government chairman opening a ballot box and tearing ballot papers showing under cover provided by uniformed policemen, has gone viral.
Recall that the local council, Adavi, where the leaked video taken at Ogaminana came from, is one of those in Kogi Central Senatorial District where popular Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate, Mrs. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, is crying foul over her defeat with a margin of 369 votes by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Alhaji Sadiku Ohere.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is alleging the council boss did the same at other polling units.
Prior to the election, and in the same district, the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government, which head, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has had a running battle with Natasha, had strangely, on the eve of elections, excavated and blocked roads leading to Okehi local government area, where Natasha hails from.
The state government said it was for security reasons but the people and political observers said it was to isolate and prevent electoral officials and others from gaining access on the Saturday, 25th February, 2023 election day. The ploy, it was suggested, was to reduce votes
In a statement, the PDP Chairman in the state, Engr Sam Uhuotu, has called for cancellation of elections’ results in Kogi. It said: “Amidst the present crisis of confidence in the INEC in the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections and the heightened tension that has greeted the less than impressive performance of the electoral umpire in the declaration of results,the PDP in the state hereby condemn the shabby elections,a charade that was marred by widespread violence and result manipulation in the state and which calls for its outright rejection by the generality of the people as it does not reflect the wishes of the people to elect candidates of their choice in a free,fair and transparent election.
“The party leadership condemns in no unmistakable terms the non transmission of results from the polling units to the INEC Server/Portal,a statutory obligation of INEC that was a selling point of the BVAS Machine as espoused in the new Electoral Reforms,2022 by INEC and which had elicited the confidence of the electorate in the process but which has turned out to be a compromise.It is therefore condemnable the deviation from the BVAS selling point to the resorting to the use of manual transmission of results which has exposed the process to widespread manipulation and compromise.
“The PDP further condemns the violence that characterised the process with the snatching and mutilation of election materials and allocation of fictitious results across the three Senatorial Districts of the State in violation of the electoral procedure derivable from the Electoral Act.
“It is indeed preposterous that the electoral umpire allowed anti-democratic forces to undermine the process of electing popular candidates for the available positions.The absence of law enforcement agents in most of the voting centres is a sore point which the APC as a ruling party capitalised on to unleash mayhem on the unsuspecting PDP supporters as the APC hoodlums brazenly brandished their arsenals to scare away the electorate at voting centres across the state while destroying and snatching election materials thereby disenfranchising the vulnerable PDP supporters.
“As the State Chairman of the PDP, I wish to express my dismay at the seeming compromise of the INEC in the application of the rules governing the process leading to the cancellation of the results of some polling units in the areas where the PDP had made strong showing at the elections in the three Senatorial Districts of the State.
“In view of the shenanigans that characterised the elections and the flagrant disregard of the processes of computing results of the elections,and which impugns the integrity of the electoral umpire, the PDP hereby condemn the election results declared by INEC for Kogi State as it does not reflect the true wishes of the electorate who has sacrificed time and resources to participate in popular suffrage to elect candidate of their choice.”
Meanwhile, according to media reports and images, some women in Kogi Central have taken to the streets to protest what they described as “injustice” following the outcome of the senatorial election in the district.
The women in a white ritual demonstration in Ihima town urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do justice to their votes and declare Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan as Senator-elect.
The white ritual is done at sacred times to invoke the ancestral spirits of war against those who cheat or cause pain to the land.
Recall the Natasha had rejected the declaration of Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as winner of the February 25 election for Kogi Central Senatorial District following the irregularities that marred the process.
Prof. Rotimi Ajayi, the INEC Returning Officer for Kogi Central Senatorial District, announced the result on Tuesday in Okene.