Senator Bukola Saraki says Nigeria’s democracy is being undermined, accusing the Federal Government of intimidating Kwara voters.
Reacting to the loss of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the Kwara bye-election, the senate president said this was a bad signal for 2019 and noted that this was the first time security agencies were deployed heavily to Kwara election.
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 Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Abimbola Adesoji, while declaring the result said Olawuyi polled 21, 236 to emerge winner defeating his closest rival, Saheed Damilare of the PDP, who polled 18,095.
In a statement on Saturday, November 17, the Senate president cited presence of security operatives at polling units claiming they were used to intimidate voters.
Saraki said this was a bad signal for 2019 and that the country’s democracy is being undermined.
He wrote: “We thank the people of Ekiti/Oke Ero/Isin/Irepodun who came out to vote today — 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 today’s #KwaraByElection 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 turn out of voters.
“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.”