The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria has suspended the voting process in several areas of Kogi State following reports of widespread electoral malpractice. The most severe incidents took place in Ogori/Magongo, where nine of the ten Registration Areas were implicated.
The Kogi State election, which commenced today, has been marred by allegations of result sheets being completed prior to the voting process. The local government areas affected include Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi, and Okene.
This shocking development comes as Kogi State, located in central Nigeria, was expected to hold free and fair elections. The state, with its strategic political position, has been a focal point of observers both within Nigeria and internationally.
INEC Commissioner, Mohammed Kudu Haruna, stated in a press release, “This is entirely unacceptable. Any result not emanating from the Commission’s process in the Polling Units will not be accepted.” He further emphasised the Commission’s determination not to reward bad behaviour and announced the suspension of elections in nine wards in Ogori/Magongo LGA.
The Commission is currently investigating the incidents in the other affected local government areas, with outcomes and future course of action expected to be announced within the next 24 hours.
As the investigation unfolds, INEC has pledged to follow the audit trail of personnel and materials to identify any individuals potentially involved in undermining the election process. Haruna assured that appropriate sanctions will be applied where necessary, stating, “We have a record of all officials deployed at various levels as supervisors, monitors, technical staff or polling unit officials and all election materials issued to them.”
The INEC has sought to reassure voters in Kogi State that their votes are safeguarded, and their wishes will be respected. The promise comes amidst growing concerns about the integrity of the electoral process in Nigeria, a country that has struggled with free and fair elections in the past.
This incident puts a spotlight on Nigeria’s ongoing struggle for transparent and credible elections. The international community will be closely watching how Nigerian authorities handle these allegations of electoral malpractice in Kogi State, with the hope that the situation will be swiftly resolved to restore faith in Nigeria’s democratic processes.