In this analysis, our Correspondent in Kogi State, LABARAN TIJANI, takes a look at the issues of security as they relate to free, fair and violence-free elections in the state.

The dateline was 28th of
March 2015 at Anyigba,
an ever growing town and
economic hub centre in the
eastern flank of Kogi State.
At the early hours of the
presidential and National
Assembly election, stern
looking soldiers were having
a hectic moment keeping a
gathering crowd of youths at
bay in a police station in the
city. The more the soldiers
shouted to scare them to
retreat, the more the youths
advanced forcefully towards
the security operatives that
were armed to the teeth.
The soldiers whom by their
traddition hated being dared
by “bloody civilians”, and
the youths being propelled
by their own cause refused
to give up; they kept surging
forward towards the station.
A sporadic, but warning shots
into the air by the soldiers
who were giving cover to
the electoral materials at the
station unnerved the bellicose
youths who have gathered
in their hundreds with the
intention of cornering the
electoral materials for their
interest.
Although the warning shots
scared the youths as they
retreated, it did not prevent
them from carrying out their
intention in the flank that
day. Few hours after this
encounter, the thugs were
almost everywhere in the axis
disrupting the then on-going
electoral process. Though it
was learnt some succeeded
in their mission, few of them
lost their lives in the process. The
state police command confirmed
only two dead, but a source put
the number of dead to about
five persons while some were
arrested.
Shortly after the electoral
materials were distributed to
the electoral officers, the thugs
shifted their attention from the
distribution centre in Anyigba
to the polling stations. They
invaded the polling booths
in the street of Omedo, Etiaja
and Iji of the varsity town
and prevented the electoral
officers from accrediting voters
for the election. When the
security operatives got winds
of their siege on the polling
booths, they stormed there and
dispatched them from their
beats immediately, for the voting
process to start at the late hours.
Undaunted, the thugs
relocated to the interior areas of
the district where the security
built up was not so strong to
prevent their move; yet some of
them met their waterloo. Foreinstance
at Abocho, a town in the
flank, a thug who succeeded in
carting aways ballot boxes and
papers from a polling booth in
the areas collapsed and died few
metres away from the spot while
on the run. The police said (he)
the culprit, one Hassan Aduba
died out of drug overdose.
Equally, at a sleepy
Oganenigwu town, about
30km from Anyigba, a clash of
rival thugs over struggle for
ballot papers and boxes left a
popular okada chairman who
was allegedly the head of one of
the thuggery groups in the area
found their ways into wrong
hands.
“We are not surprised. Some
politicians are just trying their
old tricks. A day like this in
those ugly days of election, who
born you to see the electoral
materials. A day to the D-day,
the thugs must have taken over
the nececesary materials meant
for the election. You only hear
the results being announced on
the Radio and Television a day
after”, a resident of Anyigba
submited under anonymity.
Surprisingly, in Okene, Kabba,
Insalu and Ayetoro areas in
the Central and West Districts
where people expected crises
witnessed unusual calm and
peaceful outing on such days.
It was all attributed to new
electoral process which seems
to give credibility to the
process of the election.
On the unusual peaceful
election, Goodman Akwu,
the chairman of APC Loyalty
Group in Kogi state said there
was no incident of security
breach in the the state because
the new electoral regime and
the yearning of the people for
the change made the out come
of the said election violencefree;
even as he commended
PDP for conceeding defeat, a
feat he said also aided the reign
of peace in the country today.
“People wanted a change.
The process has guaranteed
it, and the PDP endorsed it
by accepting the result of the
election. So why trooping to
the streets?”, he asked.
Equally, the majority
leader of Kogi State House of
Assembly, Yakubu Yunusa,
representing Ofu Council
expressed satisfaction with
the outcome of the election,
saying the era of thuggery and
violence is over in the state.
Agreeing with the majority
leader’s’submission is Hon.
Mathew Keyi, APC chieftain in
Ogori Magogo, who stressed
that the entire process of the
election is an improvement
over the previous ones, hence
no rigging, and people’s
confidence has been restored.
Again, the police command
PPRO, Collins, noted that
the state achieved a peaceful
election because of the
proactive measures of the
commissioner of police and
inconjuction with other
security operatives in the state.
Explaining, he said the joint
task force security headed by
the state police commissioner
held series of meetings with
various interest groups,
including community leaders,
contestants, heads of various
political parties, okada riders,
students unions and others
on the need to allow peaceful
elections.
He added that the command
will improve upon their
strategy in the April 11
governorship and and House
of Assembly election in order to
stem the activity of the trouble
shooters. He stressed that they
have identified some flash
points like Anyigba, Odolu,
Ajaka, Aiyotoro Ebiya and
others. He equally said that the
command will deploy enough
men to these areas in the next
election to deal decisively with
law breakers.
25
dead. The deceased was said to
have collected a contract from
a contestant in the said election
to remove some ballot papers
and boxes. Unfortunately, he
was over powered and killed
by the the rival thugs who were
manning the area for another
contestant in the process.
The Kogi state police command
posited that the okada chairman
was killed by his colleagues
while attempting to forcefully
remove electoral materials at the
polling station.
Also,a serving legistator
(name witheld) in the Kogi
State House of Assembly from
the east district of the state
was arrested but released
shortly after for allegedly
leading a group of thugs that
distrupted collation process at
Ofu Local Government of the
state. According to the Police
Public Relation Officer, PPRO,
Adebayo Collins, many people
were arrested inconection with
various electoral offences in
the last Saturday election but
were treated and dispatched
immediately.
Watchers of electoral events
in the state took the Anyigba
security breach by the youths
as just a mild drama comparing
it to the bizarre happenings on
such days in the past. It is said
the behaviours of the youths in
the last presidential election is
expected considering the fact
that in most of the past elections
in the district, electorate or
electoral officers are hardly seen
at any polling stations voting or
conducting voting process; as
electoral materials would have


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