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Kogi, Bayelsa elections were marred by violence, vote buying, INEC admits

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has admitted that the just concluded governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states were marred by violence and vote-buying.

Chairman, board of INEC Institute, Soyebi Adedeji, stated this yesterday in Abuja at a public presentation of the election findings by Nessaction.

He insisted that there was violence in both states and that the people who were used to perpetrate the actions were mostly youths.

“We will not fold our arms and pretend that we did not see it by not admitting that there was violence in the last two elections and it is a new trend. We must be honest enough to admit that the elections were marred by violence, especially in Kogi State.

“Anybody in Kogi will agree that Kogi was more violent than Bayelsa. In fact, somebody said the number of bullets flying in Kogi State were more than ballot papers.

“The will of the people is supreme and this cannot be exchanged for violence, another aspect that is glaring without issuing a report is the issue of exchange of vote for money.

“In spite of all we have done to discourage vote-buying, it looks as if we have not done anything because people were willing to go there to buy and sell their votes,” he said.

He noted that if youths could channel their energies towards developing the country’s democracy life will be better for them than the new trend of violence that is beginning to emerge.

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) women yesterday stormed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over the killing of Mrs. Salome Acheju Abuh, a PDP woman leader in Kogi State.

PDP National Women Leader, Hajlya Mariya Waziri, who led the protest in Abuja, demanded justice for the late PDP women leader in the state.

Insisting that Mrs. Abuh was killed for participating in politics, Waziri said their protest to the NHRC office was to find answers to some nagging questions.

Some of the questions she raised are: “Why are the murderers of our sister who are well known in their community still walking free? Why is the APC-led government quiet about Abuh’s murder?

“How long will justice continue to be delayed and denied for Salome Abuh and who killed Salome Abu,” among other questions.

Also yesterday, the PDP declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC’s) ‘coup’ against democracy in Nigeria could not stand, in spite of its alleged orchestration of violence, killings and forcible seizure of the nation’s electoral process.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, it insisted that “no amount of blackmail, innuendos, threats or attacks by the APC will make it drop its demands for electoral reforms that will return our country to the democratic practice that engenders respect for the rights of our citizens for free, fair and credible elections.”


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