..says ban political

The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello has protested the visa ban placed him by the Government of the United States.

The protest was contained in a letter, dated 16 September, 2020, signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Ayoade and sent to the US Embassy in Nigeria.

Governor Bello regretted that the State was not consulted or given fair hearing before placing the ban.

He said that a larger part of Kogi State in the November 16, 2019 election was peaceful and accused US’ action as being politically motivated, especially due to the timing.

The Governor raised concerns that the action of US may have dainted the credibility of the election and the judgement of the court, which affirmed will of the people of the state, who voted him in mass.

See parts of the letter below:

“For the most part, we concede that elections in Nigeria are complex affairs which will continue to require improvements for the foreseeable future. The 2019 Kogi State gubernatorial election was also not without its challenges. However, it is also crystal clear from critical and composite analyses of the records (official, media, observers, etc) of the November 16, 2020 polls that regrettable incidents were limited to a few polling units, while the overwhelmingly larger portions of the ballot were free, fair and credible.”

“Further, and in line with Nigerian law, the few political parties and individuals who alleged widespread electoral malpractices had free rein to contest the outcome in court. They vigorously litigated their claims over a grueling nine-month period, through a three-step hierarchy of courts, to the inescapable conclusion at the Supreme Court of Nigeria that the said elections satisfactorily complied with the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.”

“The presumption is that in spite of the U.S. intervention, the Supreme Court still discovered no merit in the petitions against him and dismissed them accordingly.

“The inference from your timing is that the judgment is somehow tainted and did not meet the justice of the case, thereby casting aspersions, not only on the Nigerian judiciary, but on the second term mandate freely bestowed on His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello by the good people of Kogi State.

“We find this unacceptable and we protest your presumption. The least you could have done, if indeed this is about democracy and human rights as claimed, is create room, no matter how slim, for fair hearing.

“As it is now, partisan speculation as to who is indicted, who is not and for what, has become cudgels, furiously swung in the media space by all comers. Your action has therefore added abundant grist to the rumour mills and electrified the merchants of fake news.”

“We believe that if the United States of America, despite her commanding heights and much longer experience as the acclaimed bastion of democracy in the world, is still locked in a fight to defend the integrity of her own electoral processes to this very day, then she ought to accord greater empathy, more civility and much less disruption, to nascent democracies”.

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