Kogi State Government has kicked against the recent visa ban imposed on politicians alleged to have rigged the November 2019 election in the state by the United States of America .
The US Government had on Monday slammed a visa restriction on some individuals for allegedly rigging the November 2019 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States as well as in the run – up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo governorship polls .
But in a letter addressed to the Ambassador of the United States of America signed by the Secretary to the Government of Kogi State , Mrs Folashade Arike Ayoade, the state governor , Alhaji Yahaya Bello , said the US should have created room no matter how slim for a fair hearing .
In the letter titled , “ Re : Visa Restrictions On Individuals And Inclusion Of The 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections In US State Department List Of Allegedly Compromised Elections – A Letter Of Protest ” , Kogi State Government also urged the US to accord greater empathy , more civility and much less disruption to nascent democracies.
The letter read in part , “ The Kogi State Government became aware of a United States Government list of individuals who received US visa restrictions for alleged electoral malpractices via a Press Statement to that effect posted on your Embassy website .
“ In your own words , the still – unnamed individuals are cited as guilty of ‘ acts of violence, intimidation , or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process. ’ They are also alleged to ‘ have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights .
“ You also noted in the statement that the sanctions are derived from unspecified misconducts by the said individuals which extend from the February / March 2019 General Elections in Nigeria through the off -cycle November 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa to the as yet unheld governorship contests in Edo and Ondo States . Please note that for the purposes of this protest letter we are only interested in the citations to the extent that they are referable to Kogi State and her citizens .
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“ For the most part , we concede that elections in Nigeria are complex affairs which will continue to require improvements for the foreseeable future . The 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Election was also not without its challenges . However, it is also crystal clear from critical and composite analyses of the records ( official , media, observers, etc ) of the November 16 , 2020 polls that regrettable incidents were limited to a few polling units , while the overwhelmingly larger portions of the ballot were free , fair and credible . ”
Governor Bello maintained that in line with Nigerian law , the few political parties and individuals who alleged widespread electoral malpractices had free rein to contest the outcome in court.
According to him, they vigorously litigated their claims over a grueling 9 -month period, through a 3 – step hierarchy of courts , to the inescapable conclusion at the Supreme Court of Nigeria that the said elections satisfactorily complied with the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act .
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