Pockets Of Violence Is Not Enough To Discredit Kogi Election, Says Yahaya Bello
The re-elected Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello on Tuesday reacted to his victory at the just-concluded election which he described as free and fair.
Bello who spoke during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily accepted that there was violence during the election but added that this is not enough to the election.
“The conduct of the election was quite very credible, a level-playing field was provided and it was free and fair. In every election, there is bound to be one issue or the other and you can’t take a pocket of issues to judge the general conduct of the election.
“Regarding the comment of the civil society organisation, they are entitled to their own opinion but let us know the parameters with which they are judging this election.
“How many polling units did they visit out of 2,548 polling units, 239 wards and 21 local governments across the difficult terrains of this state? How many people have they reached out to?
“Have they interviewed all the electorates? So what are their yardsticks.?” The governor queried.
Bello’s reaction comes after criticisms by many civil society groups including the European Union (EU) which condemned the reports of widespread incidents of violence and voter intimidation.
The Diplomatic Watch on Sunday expressed alarm at the reports of fatalities and missing people during the Kogi election and urged stakeholders to call for calm.
“We express our alarm at reports of widespread incidents of violence and intimidation, some of which were witnessed by our teams in Kogi. There are reports of fatalities and people missing, including INEC staff. Our thoughts are with all victims and their families,” their statement read in part.
The Diplomatic Watch deployed teams from Austria, the European Union Delegation, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States to monitor Kogi and Bayelsa state elections on November 16.
Also, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA Africa), on Sunday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a new election in Kogi State following reported cases of violence, vote-buying, and manipulation of voters.
YIAGA explained that the elections in the state did not reflect the preferences of voters because they were not given genuine opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
The Centre for Democracy and Development, (CDD), on Monday said 10 deaths and 129 cases of violence and electoral crimes were recorded in the just concluded polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
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