Politicians now dress their thugs in security uniforms to cause menace at elections, a monarch in Kogi State has stated. He stated this in Lokoja during an interactive session organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) in the state.
The President, Kogi State Council of Chiefs and Attah of Igala, Michael Ameh Oboni, who led the chiefs to the occasion, said politicians had always preferred the use of odd means to get reelected or ensure their party won an election, adding that said traditional rulers had little or no role to play because government and politicians had never helped matters.
According him, politicians should be saddled with the responsibility of eradicating electoral malpractices and violence, as traditional rulers can only give fatherly advice and not to go to the polling booths to control violence.
On the case of vote-buying and invalid votes, Attah Igala equally blamed the system for using hunger and poverty as weapon to discourage electorate from participation, saying government should fix all the odds that had made electorate to move away from being patriotic due to poverty.
He decried a situation where large number of invalid votes was recorded in some polling booths due to mistakes in thumb printing from hungry or alcoholic electorate. “You have a situation where someone went to bed without eating anything and woke on empty stomach to the polling booth, and when he is approached with money to sell his vote, he will gladly do it because at the end of it, he will have no stake in the victory. You also have a similar situation where a hungry looking electorate, out of hunger, do not have the strength in their eyes to vote properly. With these many invalid votes will be recorded.”
The Attah Igala further advocated that INEC should consider some mistakes in the thumb print that was either on a party logo or a little bit out of the thumb print check box.
Also speaking, Obaro of Kabba, Solomon Owoniyi, also attributed electoral insecurity on the shortage of security in some areas. According him, the entire Kabba town had only 40 police personnel, including DPO and Area Commander, adding that INEC must do something on vote buying and selling as the issue if not properly addressed will continue to pull their efforts into mud.
The monarchs also said modern governance has displaced the headship of monarchs saying, “Today modern system of governance is doing everything to make sure that traditional rulers don’t exist. State organised criminalities are sponsored by politicians. Where would there be peace when those who are supposed to bring to the country are the ones sponsoring violence”
They also stated that they would carry the crusade to churches and mosques, adding that government should use royal fathers adequately before and after the elections
Earlier in his address, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC ), Prof. James Apam, urged the traditional rulers to help the commission in ensuring peaceful election in their domain. Apam, also noted that the issuance of Permanent Voter Cards was ongoing, adding that 261,917 PVCs were yet to be collected in the state.