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Bayelsa/Kogi polls: Forum of party chairmen indicts Police, Army, absolves INEC

The Forum of Chairmen of Nigeria Political Parties on Monday indicted security agents and politicians over the violence and other electoral challenges witnessed in the…

The Forum of Chairmen of Nigeria Political Parties on Monday indicted security agents and politicians over the violence and other electoral challenges witnessed in the just concluded Bayelsa/Kogi states governorship elections.

The forum also called for an urgent conclusion of the process of the amendment of the Electoral Act, introducing electronic transmission of results from the Polling Units to a central database and electronic accreditation to minimise rigging.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on November 16 conducted election in the two states. Candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the elections in both states.

Addressing a world press conference at the end of a review of the elections in the two states in Abuja, the forum absolved INEC from the crisis, but that the two polls were serious dent on the progress made so far in enshrining free and fair elections in the country.

The forum said 62 party chairmen of political parties attended the two days review meeting.

Reading the communique of the meeting, the National Chairman of the Action Alliance (AA), Kenneth Udeze, said; “The failure of the elections was not caused by administrative lapses or inefficiency of the INEC; but by the treasonable actions of security agencies (Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police) who compromised the process and aided political thugs to disrupt the entire process and cart away electoral materials.

“The Forum of Chairmen of Nigeria Political Parties also concludes that the role of security agencies particularly the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Army during the November 16th Governorship elections Kogi and Bayelsa states were largely reprehensible.

“Men in police uniforms were seen aiding thugs to carry ballot boxes and other materials from the centres and abducting polling staff”, he said.

“The Inspector General still owes Nigerians a lot of explanation on why the 35,000 policemen in Kogi were helpless and could not stop these thugs alleging that security agencies colluded with political thugs and this collusion is at the highest levels of the security echelon.”

The Forum also demanded that the Inspector General of Police be investigated to ascertain whether truly 35,000 Policemen were deployed to Kogi state.

The chairmen further said the investigation should also unravel the quantum of allowances approved for the Police and to whom they were actually paid.

The Forum further noted that Nigerian politicians seem not to have learnt any lessons from the happenings of 1983 which led to the collapse of the 2nd Republic in 1984.

“The arbitrary use of Federal force and the loss of confidence in the Courts led people to seek all sorts of self-help which culminated in the overthrow of that administration by the military.

“All the indices which led to the fall of that Republic are here again staring us in the face still being orchestrated by politicians.

“It is clear to us that Nigerian politicians seem not to have learnt anything, in fact, Nigeria politicians we have not learnt anything from our history. The desperate quest to compromise institutions of state must be condemned”, the forum stated.