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Kogi Poll: INEC, Police, NOA Wade In

As the November 21st governorship election in Kogi state rounds the corner, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Police and the National Orientation Agency have struck common ground to ensure the governorship poll is conducted in a peaceful free and fair manner.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Security have teamed up while the Media and the National Orientation Agency have been sensitizing and enlightening the voting public on the need in ensuring violence free Kogi governorship polls.

Recently, the Kogi State Police Command had to mobilize all the political gladiators across party lines to sign peace accord that will guarantee safety conduct of the governorship election.

At the peace meeting, the state commissioner of police, Emmanuel Ojukwu charged candidates of all the political parties and their supporters to embrace peace by ensuring that they play the game in accordance with the rules.

The police commissioner also warned that whoever is found wanting before, during and after the election would be made to face the wrath of the law.

In spite of the combined efforts of these agencies to ensure that Kogi governorship race is devoid of thuggery and criminalities is highly appreciated, the alleged inciting order of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress(APC), Prince Abubakar Audu in the forthcoming governorship election while addressing his supporters at Kabba campaign rally to kill whoever tries to rig the election has continued to receive total condemnation by those who feel that it is not the best option to tackle the electoral fraud.

According to some of the political observers “We have the constitutional means of tackling any form of electoral fraud rather than advocating to kill. We have the laws that takes care of any electoral offence” hence whomever choses the course of violence should be taken up before his violence message take hold of his supporters” they emphasized.

According to Rashidi Idoko, an Abuja based Kogi indigene; “it is a well known fact that Prince Abubakar Audu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Kogi State, loves the klieg lights. Nothing advertises this better than his sartorial opulence. A fan in a recent adulation remarked that the edge of his well-ironed embroidery could easily slice off the finger of any child who toys with it. The man also loves controversy and, some would say, contrived and convoluted confusion in equal measures.

Audu found a good occasion to issue his fatwa during the flag off of his campaign rally in Kabba. He alleged that PDP was already training thugs for the election and charged his boys ‘not to spare’ but to ‘kill them’.

Recall that in the build up to the 2015 general elections, when the APC raised the alarm that a PDP governor in one of the South West states was expressing death wish on Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, then candidate of the APC, all including his party and the presidency then under Goodluck Jonathan serially vitiated the governor.

Meanwhile, the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in the state has unearthed a plot by the rival All Progressives Congress, APC, to unleash mayhem calculated to disrupt the election.

Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr Bode Ogunmola, raised the alarm while interacting with newsmen who visited the Secretariat of the Wada/Awoniyi Campaign Organisation in Lokoja, yesterday.

Ogunmola said security reports reaching the party headquarters in the state indicated that strange youngsters had recently encamped in some communities to the utter discomfort of their hosts.

The unknown guests who are most prominent in Ajaokuta and Ijumu local government areas, reside in nondescript hotels, guest houses and indeed in cells in the forests.

They strut around the communities in small groups and clusters, moving around local pubs and bars, and have reportedly been found consuming prohibited substances, even as they have no defined mission.

Fears have been expressed that the set of new arrivals in Ajaokuta may not be unconnected with a terrorist sect fingered in the recent attack on the detention facilities of the Department of State Services, DSS, in Lokoja which was repelled by a coalition of security services.

The youngsters in Ijumu are most prominent in Iyamoye and Ekinrin Adde, fuelling apprehensions that they may be ‘diaspora supporters’ of Hon James Abiodun Faleke, running mate of the Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC governorship candidate. Faleke who until his emergence as APC deputy-governorship candidate in Kogi State, represented Ikeja-Lagos Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, originally hails from Ekinrinade.

Ogunmola called on security services in the state to investigate this development so as to spare the state the potential confusion and disorder, which these virtual aliens, may unleash on innocent lives and property, at the approach of the election.

According to him:” We of the PDP, as law abiding citizens owe our people and our country, the obligation to expose anything and everything which may constitute a breach of the peace, law and order in our environment. We cannot be crying wolf where there is none which is why we call on all security agencies to dig into this report to nip this development in the bud”

In specific terms, the Kogi State PDP spokesman invited the attention of the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, the State Director of Security Services, DSS, the Zonal Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA among others, to investigate the allegation.

In the statement by the Chief Communications Manager to the Governor, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, the party said that the last electoral loss by Kogi PDP has awakened its leaders.

He said the PDP has already taken measures to address those issues that cost its victory, and is wooing back-aggrieved members.

Shuaibu stated: “The last electoral loss by the Kogi PDP have awaken its leaders to the fact that politics of today is no longer business as usual.

“What the PDP Kogi seems to be doing is to halt their membership decline, endear its displeased members back to its fold and work towards winning.

“On the other side, what the APC hopes for, is to use the popularity of President Buhari of the APC, the ruling national party to supplant the PDP but this may no longer be an easy task especially with the recent cracks in the membership of the KogiA PC.

“The PDP has a candidate with little or no blemish, thus it has gone ahead to focus on building its capacity which witnessed gross decline in the recent general elections that President Buhari’s influence had a bandwagon effect in favour of the APC”.

Meanwhile an APC governorship grand rally held at the Lokoja International Stadium at the weekend drew some national party officials but neither President Buhari nor the Vice-President Osinbajo, who were billed to attend, thus dousing the expectations of the members and ex-Governor Abubakar Audu’s who had banked to make political capital from Buhari’s presence. He would have raised Audu’s hand at the event as a mark of support and to dispel the view making the rounds that Buhari had frowned at the party’s decision to present Audu as its candidate in the Kogi poll despite his alleged corruption cases pending with the EFCC. The anti graft agency reportedly wrote to the Presidency to prevail on his party not to present Audu who has been under investigation for alleged fraud perpetrated under his governorship in Kogi as governor. The report has so gained ground in Kogi that it has gravely affected the APC. The coming days will tell who between the PDP and the APC is the peoples choice.


– Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

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