The Participation Initiative for Behavioral Change in Development (PIBCID), 2Baba Idibia Foundation and Youth Focused Civil Society Organizations have described the Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State as a disappointment to the nation’s democracy.
The civil society group also expressed displeasure in political parties for not keeping to their words of peaceful participation in the election.
This was disclosed by the acting executive director of PIBCID, Mrs. Halimat Sadiq during a press conference at PIBCID office in Lokoja.
According to her, PIBCID, 2Baba Idibia Foundation and youth focused civil society organizations had earlier engaged in civic and voter education campaigns in all 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kogi state to promote peaceful elections, political parties signed peace pledges and promised to run peaceful campaigns.
She revealed that the ‘Vote Not Fight’ campaign had received reports of election violence and intimidation of voters across different polling units in Lokoja and other LGAs in Kogi State.
According to the reports derived from various polling units, Halimat disclosed that there were incidents of ballot box snatching, sporadic gunshots, vote buying and intimidation of voters.
Areas affected as disclosed by Halimat were; Crowther Memorial College Lokoja, LGEA Primary school Adankolo Lokoja, Fentolu street Lokoja, Muslim Community polling unit 023 Lokoja (police helicopter shooting from air), Felele (one-part system), SUBEB Lokoja, Amole Baptist Road Lokoja, Holly trinity unit 002 Lokoja, Unit 025 Dekina (no voting), Ajaka ward one unit 005 , Kabba and Okebukun Ayetoro.
Halimat further stressed that all these incidents of electoral violence are sad and unacceptable, as youths she added must not be used as instruments of violence and become victims at the same time.
PIBCID, 2Baba Foundation and youth focused civil society organizations further call on all stakeholders, including security agencies, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and political parties to urgently take immediate steps to maintain peace and order in the state.
The groups urged INEC to cancel all the polling units where violence was recorded in the State, as they call on Kogi youths to shun all forms of electoral violence and exercise their civic responsibilities peacefully.
While they emphasized that children of the politicians who sponsor electoral violence are not in Nigeria, they urge Kogi youths to use their better sense of judgment.