Kwara bye-election:  Nigeria’s democracy under attack – Saraki

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Senate President Bukola Saraki has raised the alarm that Nigeria’s democracy is under attack under the All Progressives Congress-led federal government.

Saraki raised the alarm while reacting to the House of Rep bye-election in the state on Saturday which the candidate of the APC won.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Raheem Olawuyi, was on Saturday declared the winner of the Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency bye-election held across the four councils in Kwara.

The APC also won the bye-election in Kankiya/Kusada/Ingawa federal constituency of Katsina State.

In Kwara, the Returning Officer for the election, Abimbola Adesoji, while declaring the result at the Irepodun Local Government Secretariat in Omu-Aran, said Mr Olawuyi polled 21, 236 to emerge winner.

He defeated his closest rival, Saheed Damilare, of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 18,095 votes.

Other contestants in the election were Femi Ona-Ara of Labour Party, Ajadi Olayemi of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) as well as Olaniyan Ayorinde of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

Mr Abimbola gave the total number of total registered voters as collated as 168, 707, accredited voters as 41,185, the total valid votes as 39,599, total number of rejected votes as 1, 331 and total number of votes cast as 40,930.

Reacting to the result, Saraki said the conduct of the election in the state was a bad signal for 2019, noting that this was the first time security agencies were deployed heavily to Kwara election.

In a statement made available to National Daily, the Senate president cited presence of security operatives at polling units claiming they were used to intimidate voters.

He wrote: “We thank the people of Ekiti/Oke Ero/Isin/Irepodun who came out to vote — defying the heavy intimidation and the siege laid by the security agents and thugs invited into the 4 LGAs by the APC.

“The public should note that the election in Kwara was simply between PDP and security agents plus APC. This was due to the heavy deployment of police, soldiers and other security agents who gathered to support APC and harass PDP leaders and supporters.

“This is the first time that elections in Kwara State will be held under such charged, tensed and militarised conditions. We had INEC officials complaining about their own safety — and PDP supporters were brazenly intimidated, which resulted in low turnout of voters,” he said in the statement.

“It is important to reiterate that ahead of the 2019 elections, such open displays of intimidation are sending wrong signals. Our democracy is being undermined with this misuse of our nation’s security apparatus.”

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