Kogi gov’ship: Igala youths protest in Abuja, demand REC’s removal
The Igala Youth Leaders Assembly (IYLA) has demanded the immediate redeployment of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kogi State, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, for his open partisanship in managing the affairs of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state.
Speaker of the IYLA, Dr. Ojoachele Akor Felix, at a protest and press conference on Tuesday in Abuja lamented that Dr Longpet, as INEC REC in Kogi State and the State INEC Administrative Secretary Engr. Suleiman Tanko, are bringing INEC into disrepute with their open partisanship against the interest of INEC and peace in Kogi State.
The IYLA and Ukomu Igala among other organisations at the rally, said they decided to openly protest as a follow-up to their petition to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud, in May this year.
INEC cannot continue to turn a blind eye to their misconduct
They claimed that the two INEC officials openly supported Governor Yahaya Bello to claim that APC primaries held across all wards and Local Government Council Headquarters across Kogi State, which sparks outcry of the possible outcome of the November gubernatorial election, despite that there was no record of any primaries held before a winner was declared.
“In the so-called primary election that produced a candidate, thousands of party members in Kogi East Senatorial District waited on queues from morning till 2.00pm on the day of the primary election, April 15, 2023.
“They left disappointed as neither electoral officers nor electoral materials were made available for them to vote for the party’s candidate of their choice in many places. They were disenfranchised. Party members waited in vain to vote without electoral officers turning up to conduct the elections.
Party agents were forced to sign fraudulent election results at gunpoint
“INEC cannot continue to turn a blind eye to their misconduct. The people of Kogi State, have totally rejected them, and INEC must immediately remove them and replace them with people who have capacity to ensure free, fair, credible and transparent polls in the coming gubernatorial election in November 2023,”
The protesters also said that the REC turned the blind eye and failed to take the right steps in some circumstances, where he approved ‘blood-soaked’ election results, despite ballot boxes snatching at gunpoint in Kogi East Senatorial District.
“Video and photographic evidence were on display for the world to see, but Dr.
Hale Longpet did not see them. He went ahead to declare winners. Party agents were forced to sign fraudulent election results at gunpoint, in the presence of INEC officials, who still declared those results as valid. Failure to call for the conduct of fresh elections (or make up polls) at polling units where violence or lack of electoral materials prevented thousands of voters from casting the votes during the elections,” Felix said.
He, however, congratulated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, and all the 28 newly elected governors who assumed offices on May 29, 2023, praying for their successful tenure and developmental achievements.