Home Politics Nigeria’s ruling APC used political thugs to suppress Igbo votes in Lagos, rig Sanwo-Olu back to office- U.S. Govt

Nigeria’s ruling APC used political thugs to suppress Igbo votes in Lagos, rig Sanwo-Olu back to office- U.S. Govt

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By Ogechi Okorie

Washington – The United States Government has concluded that the ruling Bola Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress sponsored thugs to intimidate and suppress voters in Igbo-dominated areas in Lagos State during the March 18, 2023 governorship election.

The U.S. Department of State disclosed this in its ‘2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria,’ published on its website on Tuesday.

According to the U.S. government, following the victory of Peter Obi of the Labour Party at the February 25, 2023 presidential polls, the ruling party hired thugs to deny Igbo votes for Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, in favour of incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was then seeking a second term in office.

The U.S. government acknowledged that Nigeria’s election last year was widely reported to have reflected the will of voters, despite technical and logistical difficulties, and some irregularities.

“Many independent observers assessed the results of the presidential, legislative, and state-level elections during the year reflected the will of voters, despite reports of voter suppression and vote buying, campaigning at polling stations, lack of ballot secrecy, violence, and intimidation,” the report noted.

It however stated that, “During the March 18 state election in Lagos, All Progressives Congress supporters reportedly intimidated and suppressed voters in Igbo-dominated areas, which Labour Party presidential candidate and ethnically Igbo Peter Obi won in the February 25 national election.”

“Viral videos on social media showed APC supporters in Ojo threatening to attack ethnic Igbo voters presumed to be pro-Obi. In Eti-Osa, APC supporters also attacked journalists and, in some cases, shut down voting and prevented non-Yoruba voters from accessing polls. They similarly destroyed property and physically blocked voters in Amuwo-Odofin,” the report alleged.

The report also made reference to videos on social media showing police officers, present at polling stations where electoral malpractices and violence took place, failing to respond to attacks. 

It added that there was no evidence to show that any of the alleged perpetrators had been arrested or prosecuted.

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