AS the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Police and other stakeholders prepare for the Kogi off-cycle governorship election tomorrow, Saturday, November 11, residents in the state have expressed mixed feelings towards the poll.
Many residents interviewed on the streets of Lokoja, the state capital, reacted differently to the election.
A resident, Sulaiman Ibrahim, said he was unconcerned about the election and would not vote.
He said nothing had changed since he had been voting in the state.
“Things are the same; you vote every time, but nothing changes. The state is still in comatose,” he said.
Another resident, Kayode Eshinloye, described the upcoming election as “very crucial” to the state’s survival.
“Anyone who refuses to vote now should not complain of bad leadership in the future,” he stated.
He advised all well-meaning residents in the state to go out en masse to vote.
Idiyatu Kamoru, a shop owner, raised concerns over security in the state. According to her, her safety comes first before any election.
” Safety first, there will still be many elections in the future. If I notice my security is not certain, I will not step out of my house,” she said.
We have no candidate in the election – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has no candidate in the election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Hale Longpet, said this during a press briefing in Lokoja on Friday, November 10.
Longpet, while delivering a speech on behalf of the INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu, vowed to provide a level playing field for all political parties and candidates in the elections.
“We are determined to ensure that our officials are there waiting for voters rather than the voters waiting for our arrival,” he said, assuring the commission’s workers that they would be prepared.
According to the REC, the commission must protect the procedure and guarantee that all political parties and candidates have an equal opportunity to compete.
The commission further stated that it had made provisions for land and sea transportation to guarantee that voting materials are available and that voting starts on time.
The election will be held in 3,508 polling units spread across the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.
There was a heavy Police presence at the INEC headquarters in Lokoja on Friday.
Armoured personnel carriers, sniffer dogs, and members of the Police’s Counter-Terrorism Unit were seen at the entrance.
Kogi Police ban movement on election day, assures residents of safety
Kogi State Police Command has banned movement from midnight on Friday, November 10, to 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 11.
The Police spokesperson in the state, William Aya, in a statement on Friday in Lokoja, said the ban on movement in the state was due to the election.
Speaking on security for the election, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG)of Police Ahmed Habu Sani, who is in charge of security for the Kogi governorship election, said the Police would not spare anyone who wants to test the force’s capacity.
According to Sani, the Police have deployed enough security men to handle each of the 3,508 polling units and 239 wards in the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.
He stated that to guarantee a peaceful and successful off-circle election in Kogi state, the Police and other security agencies were adequately staffed and organised to tackle any threat to the peaceful conduct of the poll.
The DIG also urged the state’s residents to contribute their share to the peaceful conduct of the election by requesting that they provide helpful information to help security services carry out their responsibilities with integrity.
Scarcity of hotel accommodation hits Lokoja
The ICIR in this report observed that a few hours before the governorship election in the state, most hotels in the state’s capital, Lokoja, have been fully booked.
A visit to some of the hotels in the city on Thursday, November 9, showed that there were no vacant rooms to give out.
Facilities visited include Idrianana Hotel on Idrinana Close, Lokongoma Phase II, Lokoja, Suitoria Hotel, Zone 8 Road, beside New Stadium, Twins Palace Hotel, Hon. Yusus Avenue and Lily Grand Hotel, Lokogoma Phase 2.
The election in Kogi state is part of off-cycle polls to be conducted in three states on Saturday, November 11. Other states where the election will take place are Imo and Bayelsa.
The tenure of the current governor of Imo state expires on January 14, 2024, while the governors of Kogi and Bayelsa states expire on January 26, 2024, and February 13 of the same year.
The ICIR reported the top candidates competing for the governorship seats in the three states.
The ICIR, using data in this report, highlighted parties’ chances in the states.