Kogi State government has accused the government of the United States of America of playing partisan politics with its recent decision of barring Nigerian politicians from visiting its territory.
Earlier in the week, the President Donald Trump administration through its embassy in Nigeria announced that it has barred some Nigerian politicians from the foreign country over their conduct during elections nationwide, starting with the general election early last year.
While it did not reveal the identities of the victims, it included players it adjuged to have subdued democratic tenets during two governorship election last year (Kogi and Bayelsa) and has vowed to apply same sanctions on those it will find cupable in the two forthcoming guber polls (Edo and Ondo) this year.
In a statement authored by the secretary to the state government, Folashade Ayoade, on September 16th, 2020, the Yahaya Bello administration in Kogi State accused the sovereign nation of taking decision without fair hairing.
“For the most part, we concede that elections in Nigeria are complex affairs which will continue to require improvements for the foreseeable future,” Mr Ayoade wrote.
“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.
“Further, and 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. They vigorously litigated their claims over a grueling nine-month period, through a three-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.
“The inference from your timing is that the judgment is somehow tainted and did not meet the justice of the case, thereby casting aspersions, not only on the Nigerian judiciary, but on the second term mandate freely bestowed on His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello by the good people of Kogi State.
“We find this unacceptable, and we protest your presumption. The least you could have done, if indeed this is about democracy and human rights as claimed, is create room, no matter how slim, for fair hearing. As it is now, partisan speculation as to who is indicted, who is not and for what, has become cudgels, furiously swung in the media space by all comers. Your action has therefore added abundant grist to the rumour mills and electrified the merchants of fake news.
“We believe that if the United States of America, despite her commanding heights and much longer experience as the acclaimed bastion of democracy in the world, is still locked in a fight to defend the integrity of her own electoral processes to this very day, then she ought to accord greater empathy, more civility and much less disruption, to nascent democracies,” the SSG wrote.