Battle-ready security forces on Wednesday dispersed supporters of the Social Democratic Party, SDP who had thronged the Kogi State headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Lokoja, to protest alleged tampering of electoral materials used in the recent governorship election.
The security agents used tear gas to quell the protest as SDP supporters demanded the relocation of 2023 governorship election materials to Abuja, suspecting compromise by the ruling APC.
The protest, initially peaceful, took a disruptive turn when some SDP supporters started throwing harmful objects and harassing passers-by.
SDP protesters accused APC and Governor Yahaya Bello of tampering with the election materials, claiming that materials for the tribunal had already been doctored.
A protester named Danjuma urged INEC to present the original materials or face the threat of making Kogi State ungovernable.
When contacted, Kingsley Fanwo, the Director of Media and Publicity/Spokesperson of the Kogi APC Governorship Campaign Council, dismissed the SDP’s allegations as senseless. He called on authorities to restrain the SDP and emphasized that the APC would assess the situation before issuing an official statement. Fanwo accused SDP of lacking evidence and playing the victim to mask their perceived defeat.
Fanwo urged SDP to allow the Tribunal to proceed peacefully and give INEC the necessary space to conduct its work in compliance with the law. He emphasized that the SDP’s accusations were an attempt to cover their defeat.
The November 11 election results saw APC’s Usman Ododo winning with 446,237 votes against SDP’s Murtala Ajaka with 259,052 votes and PDP’s Dino Melaye with 46,362 votes.