By Ikenna Uwadileke
Abuja – A pro-democracy group, League of Women Voters of Nigeria has urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to prosecute those who undermined the integrity of governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.
Mrs Okiemute Olori, the group’s Programme Manager and Head of Observer Team made the call in a news conference on Friday in Abuja.
While condemning the spate of violence recorded in some places during the elections, Olori urged women to be more resolute and continue to participate in future elections.
She said that women should not to be deterred by the violence that occurred in Dekina, Ofu, Ankpa Igalamela, Omala and Ibaji Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kogi and Ekeremor LGA in Bayelsa.
The group also urged INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders to hold those responsible for undermining the integrity of the electoral process and persecute them in accordance with the Electoral Act 2010 and other extant laws.
“This will serve as a deterrent to others in future elections,’’ Olori said.
She pointed out that the governorship election in Bayelsa could be adjudged to be more peaceful compared to previous elections conducted in the state.
Olori commended INEC for impressive logistics and applauded security operatives for conducting themselves in a professional manner to maintain peace and orderliness in the state.
She said that the team observed that the election in Bayelsa witnessed unprecedented turnout of women who were given fair treatment by polling officials, security operatives and other stakeholders.
In Kogi elections, Olori described the number of women who participated in the process as impressive.
She said that while a good number of women participated in the election administration such as presiding officers and security operatives in most polling units, priority was given to the aged, pregnant and nursing mothers.
She, however, condemned the violence recorded in Kogi East and Kogi West Senatorial districts.
“Generally, the elections in Kogi was poorly secured as the process was taken over by armed thugs and hoodlums after the opening of polls.
“Armed security operatives were openly seen firing gunshots at polling units to disperse voters while hoodlums had a filled day carting away ballot boxes and destroying some.
“There was vote trading during the elections through a sophisticated network of party merchants, with party agents, watching voters closely to interfere in the voting patterns and influence votes for their parties and candidates,’’ Olori said.