By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Concerned Elders Forum in Kogi State and some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have called for an outright cancellation of the House of Representatives bye-election which took place in Lokoja/Koton-Karfe Federal Constituency last Saturday.
While addressing a press conference on Sunday in Abuja, Chairman of the Kogi State chapter of the party, Samuel Uhuotu accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of massive rigging, ballot box snatching and vote buying.
He alleged that officials of Kogi state government were on hand to frustrate and lure the electorate, particularly those sympathetic to the PDP at the full glare of security agencies.
According to him, PDP is already drafting a petition to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for necessary action.
He said, “We demand outright cancellation of the House of Representatives bye-election held on August 11, 2018, as same was marred with gross irregularities specifically, going by the election result released by INEC, APC purportedly scored 26, 860 votes whilst PDP allegedly polled 14, 845 votes.
“A total of 19, 760 registered votes were cancelled from 17 polling units in the federal constituency.
“Appointees and key officials of the Kogi State Government who were not indigenes or voters in the Federal Constituency were seen intimidating and harassing the electorates with armed thugs and officers of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS), and the Nigeria Police,” he said, adding that “accredited voters were not allowed to vote, as armed thugs shot sporadically into the air after accreditation, forcing the electorates to flee for their lives.”
“In the early hours of Saturday 11th August 2018, these thugs were mobilized to all polling ‘units in the two local governments, some were dressed in mufti, others in brand new uniforms with “Special Force” encrypted and engraved on their shirts and on the caps.
“Others were seen in white hooded caps and fully armed. These youths and fearful looking able bodied men were in the company of Security operatives, especially “the SARS” and were conveyed to their various operation theatres in Kogi State Government House Vehicles.
“These Special Forces and hoodlums became the instrument used by the Kogi state government under the instructions and supervision of its principal officials to unleash violence, snatch ballot boxes, drive away voters and opposition party agents in a desperate bid to swing the House of Representatives bye election in the favour of the ruling APC” he alleged.
The vacant seat was occupied by late Hon. Buba Jubril who was until his death, the Deputy majority leader in the House of Representatives.
However, it was reported that the election was marred by irregularities leading to the death of a ballot box snatcher.
The Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, William Aya, who confirmed the incident said that the suspected political thug who invaded the voting centre to snatch the ballot box was overpowered by the parties supporters and was lynched to death.