Lokoja/Kogi By-election Marred by Violence


    By Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja.

    The Lokoja/Kogi House of Representatives by-election in Kogi State which took place Saturday was marred by violence, intimidation and voting buying.

    When THISDAY visited some polling centres, some electorate accused the All Progressive Congress led government in the state of doing everything possible to win the election.
    In Paparanda and Karaworo voting units in Lokoja metropolis, people complained of intimidation and harassment of voters by government agents and political appointees.

    A member of the People’s Democratic Party in Lokoja, Mallam Mohammed Balga, was said to have been beaten.

    In ward B, some people who allegedly dressed in police uniform with red beret were said to have besieged two polling units, shot sporadically and carted away voting materials.

    There were also reported sharp practices at the Osuku primary school voting unit in Kotokarfi local government area as there were reported sporadic gunshots to scare away opposition party from coming out to vote.

    As at 11.30 am when reporters visited the place, there was no single person that was allowed to vote as those who came out were only allowed to accredit while the voting will allegedly be done in favour of the APC.

    Meanwhile. the presiding official of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Mr. Joseph Julius, while speaking with newsmen, said that they were arm twisted to follow the bidding of the APC and they had to play along to save their lives.

    Also speaking, a former Secretary to Government of Kogi State, Alhaji Musa Ahmadu, has lamented the involvement of government officials and security agents who carry and display arms in the ongoing Lokoja-Kogi federal constituency by-election.

    The former government scribe while speaking to journalists, accused the state governor, his chief of staff and other government functionaries of openly carrying arms against the electoral law.

    Alhaji Musa called on President Mohammadu Buhari to call the security agencies to order, else their action and that of the governor may make the integrity of the Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency a nullity.

    At the Lokoja ward D where one of the constetants, and immediate speaker of the house, Umar Imam, voted, he alleged that the government marred the election with the use of thugs and security personnel beating and arresting the opposition.
    Umar alleged that his younger brother was taken to Government House with his agents where they were beaten and tortured.

    Responding to reporters’ question, the Zonal commissioner of INEC, Mohammed Haruna, said the commission will not hesitate to cancel the result of any area where there were reported violence and malpractices.