The Kogi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described February 23 and March 9, 2019 as the day democracy was murdered in the state and replaced with “Gun Crazy”, a system of government where guns are used to forcefully win elections.
In a Press Conference speech titled: “We Reject the murder of Democracy in Kogi State”, read by Hon. Sam Abenemi, Deputy State Chairman of the party, the opposition party said democracy was not only murdered in the state but was exchanged for “gun crazy”, a system of government where government officials and state sponsored political thugs used guns to snatch ballot boxes, write election results and allocate results to the advantage of APC.
According to Hon. Abenemi, ”the Presidential, National Assembly, supplementary national assembly elections and the State Houses of Assembly elections may have ended several days ago across the various voting points in our dear state. We in the Kogi state PDP, are still shocked by the desperation displayed by the APC led administration in the state, the role of Security agencies like the police, the military and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
”The exercise may have ended and formally declared conclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the charade did not end without clearly validating initial concerns of the PDP and majority of Kogi people about the willingness of INEC to conduct credible elections.
”The recently held elections did not only take us several years backwards in our political evolution, aside the civil war of 1967, no where in Kogi State has ever witnessed the heavy militarization of towns and villages by the APC like what was witnessed during the just concluded presidential, national and state assembly elections.
”It is therefore pursuant to the various infractions which characterized the election process that the Kogi State PDP rejects in it entirety the outcome of the elections in Kogi State.
”While good governance, vigorous campaigns usually herald elections in Nigeria, Kogi state became a theatre for rigging and electoral violence amongst other infractions obviously because the APC led administration having failed to meet the yearning and aspiration of the people, substituted democracy for ‘Gun Crazy.’
”Kogi people would also recall that the PDP has repeatedly raised alarm about arms importation into the state, training of armed thugs as vigilantes, unholy romance between serving members of the state cabinet with INEC officials. Also disenchanted staff of the state government and even security operatives revealed the existence of questionable relationships between key staff of the INEC in Kogi State and various individuals especially government appointees all of whom have various interests in the just concluded elections.
“As a party we’ve had to raise several alarms about the nefarious activities which indicated that large sums of money and other non cash items including brand new SUV’s, sacks of rice, beans, sugar and garri e.t.c meant to induce key officials of the INEC, interfere with the voting process and influence the outcome of the elections thereby subverting the will of the people had exchanged hands.
”As a party we specifically disclosed that the ruling party in Kogi state having been rejected by the people were likely to utilize “intimidating tactics to shore up the votes, as well as deter large turnout of electorates in opposition strongholds.
“These fear came to the fore as under the cover of security agencies, PDP members, candidates were arrested, detained, abducted, with heavy voter intimidation accompanied by violence in the just concluded elections.
”To this end, the Kogi State PDP announces that indeed INEC in Kogi State provided sufficient leeway for the heavy malpractices that was the hallmark of the just concluded elections. The PDP notes that the INEC, Security agencies played active collaborator in the distortion of the electoral process as witnessed by Kogi people and the world.
”Not only were deaths recorded in Ankpa, Okehi, Dekina, Bassa and Lokoja local government areas, there were cases of abduction of members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Dekina, Ajaokuta, Yagba West, Igalamela Odolu, Olamaboro and Kabba Bunu areas.
”In major flashpoints in Bassa, Ofu, Idah, Adavi, Yagba West, Yagba East, Olamaboro and Ogori local government areas, there was a curious absence of security operatives; a development which emboldened thugs disguised as operatives of the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad sponsored by the state to move freely from point to point in the course of which voting materials were confiscated and taken to unknown locations where mass thumb printing took place.
”In Abocho, Egume, Lokoja, Yagba West, Olamaboro, Dekina, Bassa and Koto-Karfe areas, Ijumu, Ogori Magongo, under the watch of security operatives, guns and other weapons wielding thugs disrupted voting, confiscated card readers and absconded before voting commenced only for results to be announced in the affected areas to the advantage of the All Progressives Congress.
“More worrisome is the roles played by some Local Government Areas Administrators, who were seen carrying guns, and intimidating electorates, snatching ballot boxes during the just concluded elections.
”The elections in Kogi State for us in the PDP clearly fall’s below known standards. The processes which led to the announcement of the fake results constitute an embarrassment to Nigerians and is a conspicuous dent on the electoral process that was bequeathed to the All Progressives Congress by the administration of former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR.
”The Kogi State PDP doubts the integrity of the Kogi State Resident electoral commissioner, Prof. James Akpam and therefore demand a forensic audit of the security of the ICT infrastructure of the INEC in Kogi State to determine the level of complicity of key staff of the commission.
”We affirm that Kogi people did not turn up for the elections with an intent to reward politicians who have performed abysmally with another tenure in their respective offices. We’re all aware that without over stating the fact, we presently have the worst government in Nigeria, were salaries of workers are owed for about twenty and at best six months in some cases.
“The Judiciary has been on strike for almost five months. Inspite the huge allocation received by the state government, no infrastructure can be seen on the ground.
”The determination of our people to end bad governance which could only come by voting out the APC and to elect credible representatives as witnessed on February 23 and March 9, 2019 was crystal clear, resolute, strong and unwavering in our people but was however subverted by the APC led administration in the state, wherein all Administrators, government officials, political thugs of the APC stock, went berserk, in Rambo style manner to kill, intimidate, cause violence, hijack ballot boxes, and to outrightly write results characterized the Kogi state election.
”Consequently, the results of voting as declared by INEC after the charade called elections in Kogi state is not a reflection of the desires of our people who risked their personal comfort and lives to vote.
”Conclusively, the Kogi State PDP assures Kogi people that the deliberate debasement of democracy which took place in Kogi State in the name of the 2019 elections will not stand as every known legal option will be explored to a logical conclusion towards reversing the abberations that occured.
”We urge Kogi people to brace up because the journey to reclaim the mandates they freely gave to the Peoples Democratic Party across board will be long but would certainly be reclaimed.
”Let it be made known that the mandates freely given the PDP but forcefully stolen at gunpoints will be retrieved as means of ensuring that power remains with the people.
”We the PDP have in our possession pictorial, video evidences of electoral misconduct of the APC led administration, working in connivance with INEC, how the Kogi peoples mandate were robbed with undemocratic tactics.
”In the interim, we encourage our members and supporters to remain hopeful because notwithstanding the temporal setback, justice will prevail and the wishes of Kogi people will be upheld”.