Ballot box snatching, vote-buying mar election in Kogi

Suspected thugs across parties divide disrupted voting in the Saturday governorship election in Kogi State.

Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were on the ground on the scheduled time for simultaneous accreditation and voting by anxious voters.

In places visited by Tribune Online in Kogi-East,  the process commenced peacefully as election supervisors were indifferent to the open process of voters inducement by footsoldiers of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and its main rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a Polling Unit, in Ochadamu, Ofu local government, thugs overwhelmed the ad-hoc staff on the ground and carted away the voting materials to perpetrate ballot stuffing. There was no police presence.

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As at 3.45 p.m.,  thugs stormed the polling centre inside Ganaja primary school, Ajaokuta in Kogi east senatorial district.

They were however repelled by security men and some of the vigilant voters.

Sunday Tribune findings revealed that the voting centre has 21polling points.

In Ward 001  Dekina local government where the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Engineer Musa Wada and his elder brother, Captain Idris Wads cast their votes,  voters on ground complained over the difference in the date on the ballot stamp and ballot paper of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

While the stamp carries 2015 embossed, the ballot papers have  2019.

Speaking with Tribune Online,   the Supervising Officer,  Imokhuede Emmanuel, said there was no cause for alarm,  saying he would use a pen to correct the error on the stamp before handing ballot paper over to prospective voters.

The former governor of Kogi state,  Captain Wada told newsmen that he got reports that ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission were chased away by thugs who smashed ballot boxes.

He equally blamed INEC for poor logistic arrangement.

“Seven ballot boxes were snatched and our youth on national service who were ad-hoc  INEC staff were chased away.

“I am not accusing anybody, we need a process with minimal human intervention so that people don’t abuse the process. It is very sad.  Peoples houses were burnt overnight,  just because they want to come out to vote.

” Again why should we have a delay in bringing materials for voting, despite several assurances by INEC.”

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