…say APM didn’t file petition at the tribunal
The Coalition of Middle Belt Groups says the position of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and other political parties have validated the victory of the All Progressives Congress candidate Alhaji Usman Ododo.
The group said the decision of the APM not to go to court to debate the election result shows that Ododo was the overwhelming choice of the masses.
Dr Omale Ben Amedu, the convener of the group who was also the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APM during the election rubbished reports trying to discredit the exercise saying the result was an expression of the people’s wishes.
He said: “The gubernatorial elections in Kogi state came with its challenges. However, this does not lend credence to the insinuations that it was not free, fair, and credible. This position canvassed by some interested parties is not a reflection of reality, and we wish to state in unequivocal terms that the election was indeed free, fair, and credible.
“This is because there is nowhere in the world where an election can be rated 100%. Advanced democracies in the world still experience glitches during elections, so long the ratio of the glitch is negligible, as, in the case of the gubernatorial election in Kogi state, it can be regarded, as free, fair, and credible.
“Those on the ground during the elections would admit that the process remains one of the best in recent times, but for a few issues that the Independent National Electoral Commission needs to address in future elections.
“The outcome of the elections in Kogi state is an expression of the people’s wishes. Though many may disagree, it is normal, but people should learn to be magnanimous in victory and defeat.
“It is also instructive to state that all the major parties that participated in the elections decided not to go to court as a result of the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission before, during, and after the elections. This is a result of the efforts to ensure that the elections went smoothly, contrary to what is peddled in the public space.
“We elected not to go to court because there is nothing to debate. The elections were held in all parts of the state. There were no cases of harassment or intimidation. The security agencies were present and ensured the smooth conduct of the elections, which resulted in a winner that the Independent National Electoral Commission announced.
“The recent utterances by the supposed secretary of the elections petitions tribunal in Lokoja that she was attacked and petitions submitted have been stolen is false and remains a figment of her imagination.
“The Coalition of Middle Belt Groups condemns this position for lacking in merit. The tribunal secretary is either playing to the gallery or acting as a paid script written by those bent on rubbishing the outcome of the gubernatorial elections in the state. ”
The Coalition, therefore, charged the Independent National Electoral Commission to continue to improve its facilities to accommodate the dynamics inherent in conducting elections and managing the outcomes.
He added: “The case of Kogi state remains commendable. Despite the issues, the Independent National Electoral Commission officials were up and doing. They ensured the process was free, fair, and credible. We believe the Independent National Electoral Commission will improve its operations using the Kogi state elections as an example.
“The Coalition of Middle-belt groups is using this medium to call on all relevant stakeholders in Kogi state to rally support with the winner of the gubernatorial election towards achieving sustainable growth and development. “