The Kogi State Government and the opposition political parties Sunday continued to blame each other over the May 4 local government area elections, just as the number of people feared killed in clashes among the party’s supporters continued to rise.
While the opposition parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) insisted that there were no local government elections held in the state, while the state government stated that the election was one of the best ever held in the state.
THISDAY also gathered that the withdrawal of opposition parties in the council polls apparently led to the low turnout due to apathy on the part of electorate in the state.
But the state Governor, Captain Idris Wada, while speaking on the conduct of the elections, described it as peaceful.
Wada alongside his wife, Halimat; and his aged father, Pa Wada, reportedly cast their votes at about 2 p.m. after being accredited by the state Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC) at about 10 a.m. at Odu Ward 1 in Dekina Local Government Area of the state.
The governor, who commended law enforcement agencies for their roles before, during and after the elections, added that the era of thuggery, ballot box and voters’ cards high-jacking by hoodlums was over.
He called on the people of the state to always maintain peace and shun any negative thing that would affect the image of the state.
Addressing journalists yesterday, the leader of opposition in the state and a two-time governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Audu, expressed concern that the current electoral system being manipulated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would further worsen the country’s nascent democracy.
He explained that despite the boycott, there was still low turnout of voters, which had never been witnessed since the creation of the state, pointing out that the PDP had succeeded in using state apparatus to suppress the opposition.
Audu, who stated that his brother, one John Okpanachi, was allegedly shot dead by mobile police officers, expressed gratitude to all the loyalists of the opposition parties, particularly the ACN, ANPP, CPC and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for boycotting the election.
The former governor stressed that there was still a long way to go in the struggle for the emancipation of the people of the state.
Also speaking at the press briefing, former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dino Melaye, said the boycotting of the election by the opposition parties was observed everywhere in the state.
Melaye alleged that despite the boycott, the PDP still went ahead to rig the election massively, adding that the PDP had advanced from scientific rigging to vodooism, which was beyond the comprehension of the people of the state.
The former lawmaker further stated that the opposition parties would seek constitutional means in the court of law to redress the electoral misfortune perpetrated by the PDP in the state.
THISDAY checks revealed that two persons were feared killed in Dekina Local Government Area, during the election, which incidentally is the governor’s local government area.
In Ankpa Local Government Area, a councillor, Mr. Anthony Ome, was allegedly shot dead in Ojoku Ward by his opponents, while KOSIEC’s office in Bassa was torched by an irate crowd, who were allegedly protesting the distribution of electoral materials, while several persons were injured and lying critically ill across the 21 local government areas.
However the police command spokesman, Mr. Romanus Nwaneri, confirmed that only one person was killed during the exercise.