PORT HARCOURT —The National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) has declared that 15 Ogonis were killed during the just-concluded Governorship and House of Assembly election in Rivers State.
NYCOP President, Barinuazor Emmanuel, disclosed this yesterday during a protest march to the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Port Harcourt.
Emmanuel, who stated that the 15 deaths were unreported, also declared that the March 25, 2023 election as a rape on Nigeria’s democracy.
He further stated that results announced by INEC that emanated from the elections would not be accepted because the results were not the will of the people.
The NYCOP leader said: “We are here today, as peaceful people. With what happened to us on the 18th of March, 2023, was a rape on our democracy. INEC and some political parties denied us our will to vote.
“We voted in some places, but our votes did not count. Where we did not vote, they (INEC and some political parties), also manufactured votes for them.
“Our grandmothers, traders, youths, we suffered to register for Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC). We suffered to also collect our PVC. We paid transport from our respective homes to go to our polling units to vote. At the end, what we saw was death.
“Over 15 youths died in this election (governorship and House of Assembly elections). But, media did not report the casualties.
“We saw how political thugs connived with INEC and hijacked voting materials, denying us our votes. Yet, we saw votes that were declared for some people.
“We are here today, to tell the world that we, Rivers youths, reject any result that was announced here given to some politicians. We want to say that such results were not our will. We are also here today, to tell INEC that they are a shame to our democracy.
“1999, we were part of the process that fought for this democracy, MOSOP and NADECO. Our hope was that, by this time, we would be mature in our doings.
“In 2015, they behaved the same way; 2019, they still behaved the same way. But, this time, they also did the worst to us. We are telling INEC that whatever votes they allocated to some individuals are not our votes.”
Emmanuel called on the Economic and Finance Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Security (DSS) to investigate the report of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the hands of some politicians in the state.
He said: “Secondly, we observed that since three days ago, if you go to our local government areas, they are busy uploading results on BVAS. Where are they getting those results from? Who gave them (politicians) those BVAS?
“We are calling on EFCC, DSS; we won’t mention police because they connived with them to rape our democracy, to investigate those uploading results and arrest them.
Addressing the protesters, Head, Voter Education and Publicity Department, INEC, Rivers State, Mr. Mark Osulor, urged the protesters to sheathe their swords, assuring them that their complaints would be channelled to the appropriate authority.
Osulor said: “I have heard your protest and I am going to relate as you have just said, to the management of INEC. Meanwhile, I will also implore you to have your material evidences from the polling units prepared to toe the right steps, where you can make this quest for correction of what happened, if there is any.
“And the law has provided that it is the tribunal that has the utmost power to entertain such election petition. So, I will send this protest letter to the management of INEC and as well tell them exactly what you have just said as your request.Also, please, sheathe your swords.”
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