Security agencies have dispersed supporters of the Social Democratic Party in Kogi State, who stormed the State Secretariat of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Lokoja to protest against what they termed “INEC’s dubious tampering with election materials”.
The security agencies moved in on Wednesday morning, to prevent an attack on the INEC Office.
They dispersed the protesters with tear gas and barricaded the road leading to the office.
The protest started peacefully until some of the SDP supporters started throwing harmful objects and harassing passers-by, demanding that the materials for the November 11, 2023 Kogi State governorship election be moved to Abuja.
One of the protesters who identified himself as Danjuma told newsmen that they were sure the materials at the INEC Office had been compromised by the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress.
Danjuma said: “We have it on good authority that the APC and Yahaya Bello have tampered with the election materials.
“The materials they are taking to the tribunal have already been doctored.
“So we are calling on INEC to take the original material to INEC in Abuja or we will make Kogi State ungovernable.
“Those who stole the mandate of Kogi East must not live to enjoy it.
“We are calling on the President and also the Chairman of INEC to ensure the doctored materials are immediately replaced with the original ones before they are presented at the tribunal.
“Anything other than that will be resisted.”
When contacted, the Director, Media and Publicity/Spokesperson of the APC Kogi State Governorship Campaign Council, Kingsley Fanwo, dismissed the allegations as senseless and called on the authorities to call the SDP to order.
Fanwo said the APC would assess the situation and issue an official statement on it later, noting: “The SDP people know they have no evidence to back their claims.
“They are playing the victim to cover their shame.”
Fanwo, however, said the SDP should allow the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to sit peacefully and give INEC the breathing space to do its work as required by the law.
Usman Ododo of the APC won the November 11 governorship election with a wide margin, polling 446,237 votes to defeat his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the SDP, who got 259,052 votes.
Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party polled 46,362 votes.