Situation Room, NBA lament Bayelsa, Kogi polls’ violence
The Nigerian Bar Association on Sunday condemned the Saturday governorship elections in Kogi State as falling below the minimum standard of a credible election.This was contained in the report of the NBA’s Election Working Group led by its Chairman, Afam Osigwe.
The 20-page report issued on Sunday read in part, “The credibility of the entire process was put in issue by the overwhelming incidents of harassment and intimidation of voters and electoral officials, destruction of electoral materials, snatching of ballot boxes and votes and the killings of persons.“The specific incidents noted here, are by no means exhaustive.”
Concluding, the report stated, “In light of the large scale acts of violence, disruptions of the electoral process, snatching of electoral materials by armed persons some of whom were dressed in police uniform, coupled with sporadic gunshots that scared voters away from voting centres, as observed by the NBA EWG, the elections in Kogi State failed to meet the minimum standards of a credible election.”
The association expressed “hope that measures will be put in place to forestall the ugly incidents listed in this report as well as ensure that the sanctity of the electoral process as well as lives remain inviolable.”Also, a coalition of 400 civil rights organisations under the aegis Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on Sunday expressed disappointment over the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
The Convener NCSSR, Clement Nwankwo, in a statement in Abuja described the Kogi State election as “a major dent to Nigeria’s democratic process.”He said, “Situation Room is disappointed with the conduct of the two governorship elections that held in Kogi and Bayelsa states. The elections fall below the standard expected of a free, fair and credible election.
“In Kogi State, the levels of violence perpetrated by the two major political parties seriously undermined the elections, deterred voters and made the exercise a farce.“Accordingly, Situation Room is calling for the cancellation of the entirety of the Kogi State elections….”Meanwhile, the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, formally closed the Situation Room at the INEC headquarters.
The commission, which made the announcement on its tweeter handle @inecnigeria on Sunday night, said, “We thank National Commissioners, the technical team, directors and other staff members for their dedication and efforts.”