A Civil Society Organization, Centre for Leadership Legacy Int’l (Centre LLI) has charged security agents in the country to demonstrate the principles of professionalism as the Kogi state governorship election is heading towards its campaign activities.

In a statement signed by the Lead Director of the Centre, Comrade Omonu Nelson on 17th August 2023 revealed that the call is before the ceaseless violence that has erupted in the build-up of the previous election, adding that there’re already ominous signs that the 2023 election is going to be marred by violence and malpractices if measures are not taken, and urged the security agencies to beef operations in an unbiased manner.

The lead Director further appealed to President Bola Tinubu to use the November 11, Kogi governorship election to prove beyond the reasonable doubt his commitment to democratic principles, by prevailing on the heads of security agencies and ensuring impartiality during and after the election.

“There’s cause for worry that the November 11 Kogi governorship election may be marred by violence if the brewing unsavoury political development is not nipped in the bud. Suffice it to mention a few of the political developments in Kogi that if not checked can dent the forthcoming election.

“On 3rd June, the Social Democratic Party, SDP candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, was on a scheduled campaign and visit to notable traditional rulers in the State. As his convoy was approaching Lokoja, the state capital, the governor of the State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, ordered the blockade of Ajaka’s convoy. Afterwards, one of the occupants of the vehicle used for the blockade alighted and shot sporadically at Ajaka’s car, leaving the vehicle ridden with bullets, and it would have been very fatal if it was not a bulletproof car.

“Severally, the SDP campaign offices in Lokoja, Anyigba, Dekina, Ankpa etc have been attacked and burnt.

“On August 23, political thugs stormed Ejule Town in Kogi East where Kabir Bala alias Okwo was killed as the hoodlums attacked his residence and business interests. In the process, a middle-aged married woman was also killed.

“A few days ago, specifically,  on Sunday, 13 August, a Henchman, who was hired to plant ammunition on the campaign train of the SDP candidate, to incriminate him, was arrested by the eagle-eyed and gallant officers on duty at the Goshen Hotel, Ganaja Area of Lokoja, where the campaign train was awaiting their principal to arrive.

“The incident that happened on Sunday; a young man concealed ammunition among a crate of soft drinks to incriminate the SDP candidate. The culprit was whisked away by the police. The police must investigate such issues thoroughly to ensure those behind the dastardly plot are brought to justice because it’s clear that the arrested young man is just an accomplice, the real masterminds are yet to be unmasked and apprehended.

“Again, on Monday, August 14, sporadic shooting started at Anyigba which has become so notorious for thuggery. Residents of Anyigba live in constant fear due to the unrestrained activities of sponsored political thugs.

“This circle of violence can’t continue and we expect to have a free, fair, and credible election come November 11. The security agencies must rise to the occasion.”

Comrade Omonu, therefore, reminded President Tinubu and all other political actors that the hotly disputed presidential election the nation witnessed should not be replicated in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa governorship elections for democracy to strive.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on June 6, 2023, approved and published the final list of 22 candidates for the governorship election scheduled to hold in Kogi, on Saturday, November 11 2023.

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