Nigeria: Kogi Polls - Our Candidate Akpoti Remains 'Undaunted' Despite Attack - SDP

12 November 2019

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has explained why it refused to sign the Independent National Electoral Commission's peace accord aimed at ensuring peace in the upcoming polls in Kogi.

It also reacted to the burning of its secretariat in Lokoja the Kogi State capital.

In a statement signed by the SDP spokesperson, Akinbode Oluyemi, on Tuesday, it said the party's governorship candidate, Natasha Akpoti, remains "undaunted and resolute" despite the attacks on its party.

Ms Akpoti has faced several hurdles since her decision to contest the November 16 governorship election.

INEC initially disqualified her for nominating an unqualified running mate. That disqualification was upturned by the court last week.

PREMIUM TIMES on Monday reported how suspected thugs set fire to the secretariat of the SDP in Lokoja.

Similarly, the governorship candidate, who was cleared by the Federal High Court in Abuja last week to contest the elections, was allegedly attacked by some individuals at the venue of the consultative meeting with political stakeholders organised by INEC in Lokoja, the state capital, on Tuesday.

She was said to have been refused entry into the venue after she arrived late. She was then reportedly forced to leave with her team.

An enraged SDP representative on the ground, whose name could not be identified, refused to endorse the peace accord after the incident.

'Undaunted'

According to his statement, Mr Oluyemi said despite Ms Akpoti challenges, "she remains prepared with a great blueprint to becoming the next governor of Kogi State".

"Our governorship candidate will certainly be voted for by the teeming masses of the state that have repeatedly demonstrated their confidence and trust in her as the candidate that has the truest interest of Kogi at heart," the statement said.

He also said the SDP has filed a petition to the Office of the inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, demanding an investigation into the "crimes against the party".

"The national leadership of the SDP has made an official report of the incident through a petition on the dastardly act to the Office of the inspector-General of Police, demanding an inquest into the crimes.

"We count on the Inspector-General of Police to act swiftly and patriotically to expressly order a full-scale investigation into the crime to identify the sponsors and the criminal elements that perpetrated that atrocity on our Party and bring them to justice.

"The situation got worse today at a so-called gathering for the signing of a Peace Accord among contestants in Lokoja. While the INEC, security officials and candidates of other political parties were seated at the venue, Natasha Akpoti our gubernatorial candidate and state leaders of the party were attacked and prevented from entering the venue.

"They sustained serious wounds and some of them are presently in hospitals in Lokoja," the party said.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the governorship candidate, Odaudu Joel, told PREMIUM TIMES what transpired today.

"When we arrived at the venue, some suspected APC thugs were harassing her (Ms Akpoti) calling her all manner of names like 'slut'.

"She did not react. As she walked towards the door, one of the thugs dragged one of her hands and pulled her down to the ground," he said.

He condemned the attack, calling on Kogi State government to protect Ms Akpoti ahead of the polls.

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