The House of Representatives by-election in Lokoja/Kotonkarfe constituency of Kogi State turned bloody on Saturday.
Consequently, a supporter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yahaya Umoru, was stabbed to death by a supporter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) when the deceased resisted attempts to snatch a ballot box.
Pandemonium started when some SDP thugs chanting “Imam must win” stormed a polling unit in Lokoja and attempted to snatch the ballot box at the Unit.
The APC supporters at the polling unit resisted the attempt, leading to the stabbing of Yahaya Umoru.
He was confirmed dead at a nearby hospital.
Yahaya Umoru was a son of an APC House of Assembly aspirant for Lokoja 1 Constituency and was visible throughout the electioneering in the build up to the election.
Police authorities in the state have vowed to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly act, urging the youth of the area to maintain calm as the long hands of the law will soon catch up with the murderer.
Sources close to the scene of the event told journalists that the thugs were armed by one of the aspirants in the election.
The source said, “When they came, they said they were ready to kill to ensure the victory of Alfa Imam, the SDP aspirant in the election. It was unfortunate that they were able to carry out their threats.
“The Police must ensure this case is not swept under the carpet. Our politicians should desist from arming youth when their children are in good schools. I am a member of the PDP and I am not happy that we are losing the election. But I can’t kill because of anyone.”
The bye-election which started on a peaceful note on Saturday was later marred by violence, vote buying and intimidation in Lokoja.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent monitoring the poll reported that the election was marred by political thugs going from one polling unit to another to perpetrate fraud.
Although policemen and other security agents were seen at the polling stations, they looked the other way, while thugs terrorised people.
At the polling unit at Paparanda Square, voting could not hold as thugs invaded the venue, snatching election materials and beating up people queuing to vote.
The same scenario played out at polling units at Mary Primary School, Karaworo, Adnakolo and Crowther Secondary School, where thugs also disrupted voting.
At Adankolo, some thugs threw stones on people queuing to cast their votes at one of the polling units, chasing them away.
Some of the voters who came in their vehicles had their windscreens smashed.
At St. Peter’s Primary School, Felele, voters were seen receiving N2, 000 each after being certified to have voted for particular candidates.
Some officials of the Kogi Government could be seen moving from one polling unit to another in convoys, accompanied by heavily armed policemen and other security operatives.
The Federal Commissioner of INEC in charge of Kogi, Niger and Nasarawa States, Alhaji Mohammed Haruna, has however, said that the election would be cancelled where discrepancies and violence were recorded.
“INEC will review every case of violence, ballot snatching, voter intimidation and vote buying and take appropriate action,’’ he said.
Haruna stated that the rules guiding conduct of elections in Nigeria were clear, noting that election would be voided at any polling unit where rules had been violated.