By Stephen Adeleye.
The Socio Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC) has decried what it called, the widespread violence and intimidation that characterised the Nov.16 governorship and national assembly elections in Kogi.
A statement by the Executive Director of SERDEC, Mr Tijani Abdulkareem on Tuesday in Lokoja, said in spite of the process being truncated and disrupted by violence, the people still came out en masse to cast their vote.
According to Abdulkarim, “the just concluded election from available reports from our observers, was marred with serious reported issues that would undermine the integrity of democracy if not critically looked into and resolved”.
He, however, commended the Kogi electorate for their determination and resilience by coming out in their numbers to exercise their franchise during the elections.
He alleged that the elections across polling units in the state witnessed voters’ inducement and vote buying and non use of smart card readers for accreditation in some polling units.
The executive director also said that there were intimidation and harassment of voters, observers and journalists; disruption of voting process and late arrival of election materials in some polling units.
The centre, therefore, called on the police and other security agencies deployed for election duty to explain to the public, the cases of electoral violence that occurred at their duty posts.
He stressed that security men were reported to be helpless as a result of the astronomic height of violence, thuggery, and vote buying which had marred the integrity of the election.
“In an election where the electoral process was interrupted, it is expected that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) would follow its guiding principles by cancelling and ordering a rerun for the places where ballot boxes were snatched, so as to avail voters the right to vote,” he said.