The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the suspension of the ongoing election in certain locations in Kogi State. The decision comes in response to reports of electoral malpractices, including incidents where result sheets were completed before voting commenced.
Mohammed Kudu Haruna, the National Commissioner and Member of the Information and Voter Education Committee, released a statement on Saturday night detailing the suspension. Haruna specifically mentioned incidents in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi, and Okene Local Government Areas, with the most serious occurring in nine out of ten Registration Areas in Ogori/Magongo.
The statement emphasized the unacceptability of such actions and declared that any result not originating from the Commission’s process in the polling units would be rejected. The election in the nine wards of Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area has been suspended, and INEC will not accept results from this location.
The statement reads, “The Commission has received reports from our officials in Kogi State on incidences of electoral malpractices, particularly the incident of result sheets completed before voting.
“Reports indicate that the incidents occurred in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi and Okene Local Government Areas. The most serious incidents occurred in Ogori/Magongo, affecting nine of 10 Registration Areas.
“This is entirely unacceptable. Any result not emanating from the Commission’s process in the Polling Units will not be accepted.
“The Commission is determined not to reward bad behaviour. Consequently, the election in the nine Wards in Ogori/Magongo LGA (Eni, Okibo, Okesi, Ileteju, Aiyeromi, Ugugu, Obinoyin, Obatgben and Oturu) is at this moment suspended. The incidences in the other Local Government Areas are being thoroughly investigated, and the outcome, including the way forward, will be announced in the next 24 hours.
“Meanwhile, as the processes continue, we follow the audit trail of personnel and materials to ascertain those who may have been complicit in undermining the process. 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. Appropriate sanctions will be applied where necessary.
Haruna assured voters that their votes are protected, and the Commission is committed to ensuring the integrity of the electoral process. Investigations are ongoing in other local government areas, and the outcomes, along with the way forward, will be announced within the next 24 hours.
The Commission is closely examining the audit trail of personnel and materials to identify any complicity in undermining the electoral process. Sanctions will be applied as necessary against those found to be involved in malpractices. INEC urged the public to remain patient as it works to address the issues and uphold the integrity of the electoral process in Kogi State.