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Observer group says Kogi elections marred by thuggery but generally fair

A Coalition of 15 INEC-accredited Civil Society Observer groups has decried the violence that characterised the governorship and senatorial elections in Kogi, but said that the process was “generally fair”.

Mr Peter Nwokolo, National Coordinator, Citizens Right and Leadership Awareness Initiative, at a press conference on Tuesday in Lokoja, decried the anomalies but said that they were not enough to justify calls for the cancellation of the polls.

He decried the incidents of thuggery and associated violence, but praised INEC for identifying and evaluating the overall impact of the incidents on the electoral outcome.

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“INEC was right to have taken remedial decisions, including cancellation of votes or scheduling of outright re-runs, in some constituencies,” he said.

Nwokolo particularly decried the violence, ballot box snatching and other forms of disruption by hoodlums some of them in Police uniforms, working for unknown principals.

According to him, “the severity of such incidences were more pronounced in certain areas, particularly Lokoja”.

He also decried “transactional practices” such as vote-buying and voluntary breach of secrecy in voting between voters and agents of political parties.

“Voters and political parties voluntarily exchanged money for votes with the voter contriving to reveal his thumb-printed ballot in order to receive payment,” Nwokolo said.

The coalition called on the Nigeria Police Force and other law enforcement agents to unearth the faceless individuals behind such criminal activities so as to save the nation’s democracy. (NAN)