By Benjamin Idakwo
Kogi United for Democracy has urged the Federal Government to institute a high powered judicial panel to investigate the politically motivated violence which took place before, during and after the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election in Kogi State. President of the organization, Dr. Yakubu Ugwolawo, while addressing journalists at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, stated that, judging from the outright condemnation of the election by international communities, civil society organizations and other highly placed institutions and individuals across the world, the need to carry out investigation to unravel and punish the culprits is very necessary. In view of the dastardly act demonstrated in Kogi state and other similar elections across the country in order to scamper peoples opinion, the group has called for a holistic electoral reform in Nigeria. Ugwolawo asserted that since the creation of Kogi state, there have been political evolutions from military to democratic era, adding that the State has never witnessed the kind of violence that erupted in the last gubernatorial election.He said, “The election consumed many innocent souls and others maimed, including the PDP zonal women leader, Mrs. Salome Achejuh Abuh, who was burnt alive in her house at Ochadamu in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi East Senatorial District by thugs working for the ruling All Progressives Congress” The President of the group said that the brutal killing of the illustrious sons and daughters “in a broad day light by evil men working for their political godfathers has shown a damning verdict that the election exercise was short of minimum standard to be acceptable by the citizens” According to him, “We therefore, wish to remind Nigerians particularly, the dignitaries including state Governors, members of Federal Executive Council, members of the National and State Assemblies, businessmen/women, community leaders, members of the Diplomatic Corps, among others, who were invited to celebrate the swearing in ceremony of Yahaya Bello and Edward David Onoja as Governor and Deputy Governor respectively on 27th January, 2020 in a political jamboree, should note that the indigenes of Kogi State are in deep mourning mood over the demise of their loved ones in their attempts to exercise their civic rights during the last election” Ugwolawo lamented that the deceased lives were terminated to satisfy the ambitions of some individuals in their desperation to perpetuate themselves in that position which they could not manage in the first place. “The election was marred with irregularities of the highest order. It was characterised with ballot box snatching, stuffing and destruction of electoral materials coupled with widespread violence and vote buying at exorbitant rate. On a particular note, was the use of Police helicopter which teargased from the air to scare voters away, thereby, paving way for the brigands to operate” he said.