PDP, others hail fresh U.S. visa ban on election riggers

• Tambuwal tags poll cheats as coup plotters
Some stakeholders in the country, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have commended the United States (U.S.) for imposing fresh visa ban on persons undermining the electoral process and democracy in Nigeria.

The PDP enjoined the U.S. Department of State to include family members and assets of such anti-democratic agents who have destroyed the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the opposition party urged the U.S. to also invite the European Union as well as other nations, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, to impose similar sanctions on electoral violators, who are bent on destroying the democracy.

The PDP said if the visa ban should be taken across the globe, it would be a final warning to the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as compromised security and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials being used to perpetrate electoral violence and manipulations.

“It is instructive to note that this announcement by the U.S., which reinforces the determination for resistance in Nigeria, is also an unambiguous caution to the ‘sacked’ National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, the APC governorship candidate in Edo, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and his Ondo counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, over their plots to use violence to undermine the sanctity of the governorship elections,” the PDP claimed.

The party further claimed that the position of the U.S. Department of State is a confirmation that “2019 general elections, the November 2019 Kogi governorship election, as well as other elections under the Buhari regime were massively rigged with unrestrained violence against the people and rampant manipulations by the APC and their compromised security agents.”

THE Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, declared that those who perpetrate election rigging and other electoral malpractices are as guilty as those involved in coup plotting to overthrow a democratically elected government.

Tambuwal, in a statement to mark this year’s International Day for Democracy, said the forthcoming governorship election in Edo and Ondo states would be a test case for Nigeria’s preparedness for a rule-based and consent-enabled governance.

Tambuwal, who noted that the struggle for democracy in Nigeria “involved sweat, blood, diplomacy, compromises and negotiations”, said that many young people who did not participate in the various struggles to entrench democracy in the country might not understand the price paid by the forebears.

CANDIDATE of Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2019 Kogi governorship election, Natasha Akpoti, berated the judiciary as she lauded the ban on those who rigged the poll.

Akpoti said: ”It is a welcome development. I was one of the candidates in that election that was closely monitored by the international community.

“This action goes a long way to validate all claims my party and I made at the courts with regard to the gross irregularities of electoral processes amidst violence to install Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi State.”

“To think the Supreme Court dismissed my petition as being flimsy and lacked evidence, whereas all INEC result sheets tendered as evidence had no SDP on them, shows the depth of corruption and dishonesty of the Nigerian judicial system.”

A human rights and pro democracy group, Concerned Nigerians, said: “It is imperative to note that, this visa ban will send a strong signal to those who are always available to be used by politicians to rig elections, manipulate results and perpetrate violence during elections that actions have consequence.”

Although the U.S. did not specify how long the ban would be in effect, Convener of the group, Deji Adeyanju, wants the sanction extended to those who may be planning to unleash terror or rig the upcoming Edo and Ondo elections.

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