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Kogi polls: Group cautions gladiators against violence

…says election is about unity, peace, development

Kogi polls: Group cautions gladiators against violence
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

By Chris Ochayi – Abuja

Political gladiators in the scheduled November 16 governorship election in Kogi State and Kogi West rerun senatorial elections have been urged to apply caution and wisdom in the runoff to the elections.

They were also asked to imbibe the political wisdom of former President Goodluck Jonathan who sagaciously surmised that his ambition does not worth the blood of any Nigerian.

A non-partisan organisation, the Igala Heritage Foundation, IHF, while calling for caution, charged the actors to avoid violence and electoral malpractices by legal and reasonable means during the conduct of the poll.

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Chairman, Board of IHF, Chief Ogwu James Onoja noted that the forthcoming elections in the state is about the unity, peace, and development of Kogi state and the people.

Onoja who briefed Journalists in Abuja alongside the President of the group, Prince Adejo Egbita, particularly urged the youth to look at the bigger picture of life and not to make themselves willing tools in the hands of desperate politicians.

Onoja said the preliminary reports coming out of the state regarding preparations for the elections heightens concerns of every patriotic and peace-loving kogites, as well as every believer in democracy in Nigeria.

He stressed that what the people and state needed at this time is a free, fair and credible election and nothing less.

He said. “First of all, we want to draw a caution for all political stakeholders in the state to ensure that they avoid violence and electoral malpractices by all legal and reasonable means.

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The elections should be free, fair and credible. We decided to start off on a cautionary note because the preliminary reports coming out of the state regarding preparations for the elections heighten concerns of every patriotic and peace-loving Kogite, as well as every believer in democracy in Nigeria.

“The coming gubernatorial election in Kogi State is very crucial and we want the good people of the state to remove their eyes from the peripherals to the big picture.

This election is about the unity, peace, and development of the state and her people. It is about building an enduring democratic and socio-economic legacy that all the different tribes in the state – Ebira, Igala, Okun, Bassa, Bassa Nge, Yoruba, etc, and posterity can uphold with historical pride.

We want to challenge voters in Kogi State, especially the youths not to succumb to the divisive politics by desperate politicians in the state. Whichever is your tribe, please vote for good governance and accountability.

“It is pertinent at this point to underscore, perhaps, the biggest need of KogiState at this period of her democratic history: visionary and purposeful leadership.

A leader that represents the collective dream and aspiration of the entire state. The success and failure of any state (including Kogi) depend on the capacity and depth of the leader.

“The Kogi youth should and ought to know that Kogi State is bigger than any political party and individuals. Politicians will come and go. Political parties will come and go, but Kogi State will remain as a collective asset of our youths, children, and posterity.

The future belongs to the youths and so youths in Kogi State should not sell their birthright for a plate of porridge-like Esau did and exchanged his eternal heritage irrecoverably.

“The Kogi youth should take or seize the opportunity of this election to enthrone leadership that will govern the state with righteousness, a good conscience, and maturity. They should be courageous and vigilant enough to ensure that their votes count and are therefore protected devoid of any form of violence.”

The group also urged the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be neutral and non-partisan.

“At this juncture, the Kogi electorate should rise up and use their voters’ card wisely. All stakeholders should abide by the rules of the game. Electoral officers and security personnel assigned to enforce law and order should remain neutral and non-partisan.

Political parties, politicians and their followers must show decorum and restraint in the interest of our dear state. In this election, we should all stand up for democracy, legacy, and development of Kogi State where the interest of the state and the life of every Kogites takes precedence above inordinate ambition”, Onoja said.

He further added, “As we conclude this intervention, may we remind politicians and other political actors in Kogi State the immortal words of former President Goodluck Jonathan during the build-up to the 2015 Presidential Election and emulate him. He said that “My ambition does not worth the blood of any Nigerian”.

“In the same vein, we hereby sound it loud and clear that “no ambition of any political party or individual is worth the destruction of Kogi State”.

The group also had very strong words for the politicians who may want to set the stage on fire.

“Finally, to the politicians who are hell-bent to water and fertilize their political ascension with the blood of the youth and innocent, the Almighty God will not only fail and foil your devices, but you shall all brutally reap the fruit of self-destruction and negative posterity”, Onoja said.

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