2019: We’ve Already Been Disenfranchised Before Election – Kogi Communities Cries Out

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The people of Onyioto/ Ageva, Oro in Okengwe under Okene local government area of Kogi State has raised alarm over alleged marginalization by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)  before the commencement of the 2019 general election.

It could be recalled that INEC had scheduled the Presidential and National Assembly election for 16th February and the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections for 2nd March 2019.

Our Kogi Correspondent who went round with a Kogi-based non governmental organization, Challenged Parenthood Network Initiative (CPNI) in collaboration with the INEC on a door-door campaign for a violence free election gathered that the affected communities are housing over 15,000 persons.

It was also learnt that despite the growing population of the communities, it has yet to feel any government presence.

Speaking, a community leader in Onyioto/ Ageva, Mr John Ochu lamented that residents in the community were forced to travel several kilometers to register and exercise their voting rights in the past.

He threatened that his people may likely boycott the forthcoming polls, noting that the failure to create wards and polling units in their community was politically motivated.

He accused the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) of playing a lead role in sabotaging their efforts in achieving their aims in getting polling units and wards in their communities.

“I am highly disappointed that up to this point,  we are yet to have a polling unit. They promised us that our plight will be looked unto before 2019, now election is here and nothing has been done

“Educated registered voters go far from their location to other areas like Abuga/Ozuja ward and Obehira Eba to register and cast their votes. This will no longer be acceptable. They should have told us that we are not part of Okene Local government or under Kogi State rather than getting this punishment during election. With this, we have been marginalized and disenfranchised before the election begins.

“We are all aware that their will be restriction of movement on that day.  How do we get to our voting point?  We are tired of this marginalization.  Since we are not regarded in our local government, let them conduct their election all alone,” he said.

Corroborating the position of the community leader, the Chairman Okengwe Development Association (ODA), Ezekiel Dangana said the community has written several memos for the creation of more wards and polling units but it has been done to that effect.

He stressed that  the community has continued to suffer neglect from both past and present administration in the state.

Earlier, the executive director, Challenged Parenthood Network Initiative (CPNI), Mrs Eunice Abimbola Agbogun called on electorate to remain peaceful during the polls adding that selling their votes will amount to selling their future.

She added that the NGO has taken note of all the issues and  will immediately engage INEC to look into it in due course.

Our Correspondent  reports that CPNI also moved it campaign for a violence free election to Ogori Magongo Local Government of Kogi State.

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