Governorship candidate in the 2019 Kogi State governorship election, Natasha Akpoti, said she has been vindicated by the United States government over Visa ban on the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and others.
According to Akpoti who contested in the 2019 governorship race under the Social Democratic Party, SDP, the decision by the US government confirmed her claims that the governorship election was rigged in the favour of Bello.
The politician applauded the US government’s decision to take unfriendly measure on persons found guilty of rigging the November 16, 2019, Kogi state governorship election. Naija News recalls that Natasha lost against Bello in the last elections, and afterwards filed a petition against the election results but also lost at the Supreme court.
The apex court held that she and her party failed to substantiate their claims that the governorship election was rigged. Naija News reported earlier that the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in a statement on Monday, September 14, announced visa restrictions for some individuals for their actions in the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.
Reacting to the development, Natasha in a statement made available to newsmen today Tuesday suggested that the visa ban should be extended to individuals who work in institutions like INEC that have been charged to conduct free and fair elections.
She said, ”The action by the US government goes a long way to validate all claims my party and I made at the courts with regards to the gross irregularities of electoral processes amidst violence to install Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi state.”
The statement continued; “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. Nigeria should remember that she doesn’t exist in isolation but as part of a community of third world countries whose actions shape her international relations with allies.”
“No doubt, the Nov. 2019 election has setback Nigeria’s democracy decades of progress backwards and I do hope this ban is limited not only to the individuals in Kogi state government but principals of institutions who were saddled with the responsibility to ensure free, fair and safe elections such as INEC.”
In the same development, a former lawmaker who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani in his reaction on the US visa ban on some Nigerian politicians said the visa restriction would help Nigeria ensure credible and transparent elections.