The Kogi State Government has said it protested the visa ban imposed on its officials by the United States over alleged election compromise because the various courts in the land validated the election that brought in Governor Yahaya Bello.
The US had included Kogi government officials, including the governor Yahaha Bello among those to be affected by the visa ban.
Kogi has protested the ban in a letter to the Ambassador of the United States of America signed by the Secretary to the Government of Kogi State, Mrs Folashade Arike Ayoade.
The letter is titled: “Re: Visa Restrictions On Individuals And Inclusion Of The 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections In US State Department List Of Allegedly Compromised Elections – A Letter Of Protest.”
In the letter, the governor, Bello said Kogi State Government became aware of a United States Government list of individuals who received US visa restrictions for alleged electoral malpractices through a Press Statement to that effect posted on the US Embassy website.
According to Bello, in the words of the US, the still-unnamed individuals were cited as guilty of ‘acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process’ and that they were also alleged to ‘have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights.’
He said the US also noted in the statement that the sanctions were derived from unspecified misconducts by the said individuals which extended from the February/March 2019 General Elections in Nigeria through the off-cycle November 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa to the yet unheld governorship contests in Edo and Ondo States.
He urged the US to note that for the purposes of this protest letter the Kogi government was only interested in the citations to the extent that they were referable to Kogi State and her citizens.
Bello said in the letter that for the most part, the government conceded that elections in Nigeria were complex affairs which would continue to require improvements for the foreseeable future and that the 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Election was also not without its challenges.
However, the governor said it was crystal clear from critical and composite analyses of the records (official, media, observers, etc) of the November 16, 2019 polls that regrettable incidents were limited to a few polling units, while the overwhelmingly larger portions of the ballot were free, fair and credible.
He said the political parties which alleged electoral malpractices went to court to contest the outcome of the polls and lost, as the court said the outcome of the polls were in line with the Nigerian constitution and the electoral act.