Families of no fewer than 39 Nigerians are mourning at least one member killed during the 2023 general elections, just as a few politicians are celebrating victories at the polls.
The dead in the presidential and governorship elections held on February 25 and March 18, 2023 include policemen, politicians, hired thugs, members of the electorate and even a yet to be identified ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission who was reportedly struck by a stray bullet.
In Kano, a sitting member of the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa has already been charged to court for the Election Day violence that led to the death of three members of his constituency.
While the Nigeria Police have vowed to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of election violence, many of the cases have gone unreported, leaving the culprits to roam free.
LEADERSHIP Weekend took stock of some of the cases, including those that have been reported in the media or confirmed by the police in the states that recorded the worst cases of election related violence.
APC Campaign Director, Four Killed In Rivers During Election
Director of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign Council in Ahoada East local government area of Rivers State, Chisom Lenard, was among five people who were killed during the just-concluded governorship and House of Assembly election in the state.
Lenard was shot dead by suspected political thugs at Ahoada Town, headquarters of the local government area.
Also killed during the election at Odual Clan in Abua/Odual local government area of the state was a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The youth corps member, whose identity is yet to be known, was an ad-hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He was hit by a stray bullet during a clash between thugs supporting the two major political parties in the area, the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A middle-aged man was also killed during a disagreement between supporters of the PDP and the National Rescue Movement (NRM) at a polling unit at Omuma local government area of the state.
Three persons suspected to be thugs were killed by soldiers at Ogbakiri community in Emohua local government area of the state on the election day.
The suspected thugs had come into the community through a nearby river to disrupt the election on the community and were confronted by the soldiers.
1 Killed In Nasarawa
In Nasarawa State, no security personnel or politician died during the March 18 governorship and State House of Assembly Election.
However, a young man identified as Yunusa Lolo lost his life near the constituency collation centre in Awe local government area of Nasarawa State.
The young man was said to have died following a face-off between the youths in the area and soldiers deployed to keep peace during the poll.
The atmosphere in Awe North constituency became chaotic following a protest by angry youths over the delay in the announcement of the poll results for the area.
The youths, it was gathered, started throwing stones to the constituency collation centre, prompting the military to respond with sporadic gun shots to disperse them.
The deceased was said to have been hit by a bullet during the fracas and died on the spot.
The development led to transfer of the collation for the State House of Assembly result to Lafia, the state capital.
6 Die In Akwa Ibom Election Violence
In Akwa Ibom State, widespread cases of violence during the just concluded general elections led to the death of no fewer than six persons, following supremacy battle for the soul of the state by rival political parties.
The major opposition parties led by their governorship flag-bearers, including Obong Akanimo Udofia of the APC; Obong Bassey Akpan of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), and former national secretary of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, for the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), led the charge to dislodge the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last 24 years, from the Hilltop Mansion.
The state was tension-soaked during the presidential and National Assembly polls, with Governor Udom Emmanuel, hell-bent to justify his choice as the chairman, Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaigns Council, given the fact that his predecessor and estranged godfather, Chief Godswill Akpabio, was on the other side commanding his battle to return to Senate and to secure marginal votes to ensure Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the president -elect, secure the much needed spread to guarantee his election win.
Though the contest was fiercely fought, with Emmanuel securing majority votes for Atiku across the 31 local government areas, Akpabio, also shared the spoils, fetching his return ticket to the Red Chamber, and securing sizable votes for Tinubu.
But the polls did go without some bloody noses as the contest consumed no fewer than three persons on the elections’ day, February 25, leading to cancellation of the exercise in various units in the affected Registration Area Centres (RACs).
While two persons were said to have been killed in Etim Ekpo local government area, another was shot dead around the Itak area of Ikono local government area, forcing the contest for the Ikono/Ini federal constituency between former commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, of the PDP and the incumbent lawmaker, Emmanuel Ukpong Udo, who is angling for a return under the YPP platform, to be declared inconclusive.
For the March 18 governorship and state Assembly elections, another three persons were confirmed killed by anti-riot Police operatives at Okoita, headquarters of Ibiono Ibom local government area, as supporters of the YPP were said to have turned themselves into a cannon-fodder, while trying to prevent security agencies from accessing the local government area office of INEC for inspection of ballot materials.
The YPP governorship candidate, Senator Akpan, explained that the incident happened when the youths tried to resist the security forces “detailed with marked government Hilux vans from Government House, to cart ballot materials meant for Ibiono Ibom away to the Government House and thereby disenfranchising the voters.”
“The Policemen shot directly into the crowd and three persons died instantly with others escaping with various degrees of injury, who are now receiving treatment in the hospitals,” Akpan stressed.
6 Persons Killed For Allegedly Snatching Ballot Boxes In Benue
In Benue State, the presidential and National Assembly elections were more peaceful than the governorship and State Assembly elections even though the State Police Command said it arrested 26 suspects across the State for committing various electoral offences, but no life was lost in the process.
However, the governorship and State Assembly elections took a more violent dimension, as security personnel reportedly shot dead 6 persons in Gboko local government area for allegedly snatching ballot boxes meant for the Governorship and States Assembly elections.
Our correspondent who was in Gboko gathered that the 6 persons who were killed at different locations by the security personnel stormed the polling units to snatch the ballot boxes for money bags politicians who are desperate to win the election.
Some of the residents in Gboko told our correspondent that one among the 6 persons killed was wearing a branded shirt of a political party.
He said, “As I speak to you the corpses of the 6 people who were killed are deposited at the General hospital morgue and other people who sustained varying degrees of injuries are also receiving treatment at the same hospital.
An eye witness who did not want his name in print explained that one person was killed in Abagu, One in Yadev, two at NKST primary school Gboko South while the other two were killed in Hausa quarters.
A National Assembly member representing Buruku federal constituency, Kpam Jimin Sokpo, was beaten with blood all over his body in the early hours of March 18 by yet-to-be identified men allegedly dressed in Army Uniforms in Gboko local government area of the state.
2 killed In Edo
In Edo State, Festus Idahosa, 33, was reportedly shot dead by thugs of a political party at his Ogheghe polling unit during the 25th Presidential /National Assembly election and a nursing mother of three, Elizabeth Owie, 43.
The late Idahosa is said to be a supporter of the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi.
Comrade Kelly Igbaloi had described one of the victims, Elizabeth as a gallant lady who epitomised the ideals of the Labour Party.
He said: “It is a loss of a gallant lady. Her death is regrettable. If it is possible we would have brought her back to life. The party at a condolence visit to the families had vowed to pursue justice for the victims.
1 Dead In Sokoto
There were allegations of killings during the last Saturday governorship election in Sokoto. However, efforts to ascertain the numbers of victims from the police proved abortive as, calls and messages sent to the PPRO, Sokoto state police command, DSP Sanusi Abubakar, was neither answered nor replied.
According to report gathered by our correspondent, suspected thugs in Gudu local government area of Sokoto state shot a voter dead while trying to protect the results of his polling unit in Marake village.
Narrating the episode, a former legislature in the state House of Assembly, Honourable Sani Alhaji Yakubu said, the suspected thugs stormed the Polling Unit from a nearby village after realising they were defeated at the polling centre, grabs the ballot box, tore the results sheets into pieces and, in the process shot the voter trying to protect the results
At a press conference, Sokoto state Chairman of the PDP, Honourable Muhammad Bello Aliyu Goronyo, also alleged that innocent citizens were killed by close associates of the leader of the APC in the state and its teaming members are being subjected to harrowing treatment deliberately by the leadership of the APC.
Goronyo said, “We are indeed constrained to put on record the dastardly act of killings that occurred in some part of the state. Three innocent citizens were killed in Shagari and, the son of PDP supporter, Late Armiya’u Mada in Tudun Wada area in Sokoto.
“A business woman in Katami was purportedly robbed of over three hundred bags of grains. The list of those who suffer harassment, intimidation and loss of property in different parts of the state are disturbingly alarming.
“Meanwhile instead of arresting and arraigning the perpetrators to face justice security is busy focusing attention on PDP supporters based on prompting by the APC leadership in the state,” he alleged.
2 Policemen Killed, In Taraba
The Police Public Relations Officer for Taraba State Command, SP Abdullahi Usman, confirmed that two police officers attached to the command were killed by soldiers in Jalingo on Monday morning while two others were admitted with gunshot wounds following a scuffle between the police and the Army.
Usman while speaking with LEADERSHIP Weekend said that the situation started when a female police officer who was reporting for duty at the INEC state headquarters in Jalingo was stopped by the military men at a checkpoint close to the headquarters and asked for proper identification.
Though there were also rumors that the Army also lost two of their men in the clash, the Army did not make the information available as at the time of the report.
The PPRO while giving details of the incident said the scuffle was settled and the female police officer proceeded to the Collation centre only for the military man to go back and drag her out forcefully, leading to a quick escalation and the mayhem.
10 People Killed in Osun.
No fewer than ten people were reportedly killed before, during and after the just concluded elections in Osun State.
The leading political parties, the PDP and APC traded accusations of culpability in the killings.
Though no security operative died in the build up to, during and after the elections, the political parties have consistently pointed accusing fingers at their opponents for the dastardly acts.
The killings spread across the three senatorial districts of the state with Osun East having the lion share.
Among those killed, according to APC were Adetunji Adeyeye from Ward 10, Atakumosa-East Local Government Council Area, Oladele Moses a.k.a. ‘Alase’ from Ward 09, Atakumosa-East, Oluwole Ade Basiru from Ward 09, Omidokun Elijah from Ward 10, Ebenezer Alaro from Ward 09, Ilesa-East, Ibrahim Taiwo Adebiyi a.k.a. ‘Omo Alhaja’, from Ward 05, Etiooni and Adex from Ward 09, Atakumosa-East, Saheed Oyegunju, Ikire
The party also claimed that three okada riders were shot dead at Iwara junction, adding that one spare part apprentice was shot dead on the day a political thug, ‘Ado-Igbona’ was celebrating his birthday.
The PDP on its part accused APC of orchestrating the gruesome murder of one Wole in Ife, while two of their members from Ilesa West, namely Rafiu Quadri Abiodun and Elijah Baba Ewe were equally shot dead after a campaign rally in Ilesa.