Kogi: Stop intimidating INEC, Judiciary, Nigeria Governed By Law, Not Propaganda, CSOs Tell Politicians

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A Coalition of Civil Society Organizations has called on politicians to exercise restraints in their criticism, intimidation and harassment of the country’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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The coalition, during a peaceful protest led by the Convener, Dr. Wisdom Ohalete at the headquarters of the INEC in Abuja on Thursday also expressed worry over the orgy of “needless harassment” of the judiciary by political actors, noting that it undermined the sanctity of the nation’s electoral system and the independence of the judiciary.

The coalition staged the protest in response to one led by a group which called itself Concerned Kogi Citizens Forum where it told the National Assembly that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) of the INEC was the problem of the country and that professors were being used to rig election and should stop being appointed as Returning Officers.

Dr. Ohalete,.while expressing disappointment with the avalanche of attacks on the electoral umpire, said politicians must imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and stop launching attacks on the nation’s institutions over their rejection by the electorate at the grassroot.

“It is saddening and most worrisome that politicians will stop at nothing in their desperation to grab power at all costs. In the case of Kogi, which has continued to attract headlines, it is on record that tribal jingoists who lost out in the November 11, 2023 poll have continued to drag the names of INEC and the judiciary to the mud due to their inability to achieve their political aims.

“When we continue to unleash needless attacks on these institutions of the law, we are stoking anarchy and telling the world that our reputation as a people is in tatters. No nation develops in an atmosphere where its institutions are maliciously derided and ridiculed by those who believe they have the structure of the state.

“A candidate has lost election at the poll in Kogi and lost at the tribunal. Instead of him to allow the judiciary do its job, he has resorted to intimidation just to criminally allow the pendulum swing in his favour. The country is a creation of law, and not a banana republic where people have their ways through criminal means,” he noted.

Similarly, Dr. Ben Oguche the Convener of North Central Indigenous Peoples Assembly, in a letter to the leadership of INEC and Chief Justice of Nigeria, urged them to be firm and steadfast.

He called on Nigerians to rally support for the key institutions of the state and withstand those wishing to thwart the efforts to build Nigeria’s democratic culture.

While receiving a solidarity letter from the group on behalf of INEC, Director of Security, Ndidi Okafor, pledged continuous commitment of the Commission to the constitution of the country, and to ensuring free, fair, credible and inclusive elections.

She further appreciated the group for being peaceful and also for expressing their views about the Commission and the Judiciary.

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