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Oyo Rep, 21 others killed as violence mars elections

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A Federal lawmaker, representing Lagelu,/Akinyele Federal Constituency of Oyo State, Hon Temitope Olatoye (aka Sugar), and two policemen were among the 22 people killed in various parts of the country yesterday as violence, ballot box snatching, vote buying, arson and voter apathy marred the Governorship and State Assembly electioin held in various states.

 

While the governorship election took place in 29 states, excluding Ondo, Osun, Ekiti, Edo Anambra, Bayelsa and Kogi states, elections into the 36 State Houses of Assembly and Area Councils in Abuja were held.

Hon Olatoye Sugar, who was shot in the eye, was among the two persons who lost their lives in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, when suspected thugs engaged one another in violent clashes in the town. Two policemen, an Inspector and a Sergeant and two other persons were reportedly shot dead in Sokoto State.

 

The state’s INEC presiding officer, Surajo Muhammad was kidnapped and later released.

In Oba-Akoko in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State, two people were also killed while 20 were arrested when suspected hoodlums stormed collation centres in order to cart away ballot boxes. Law enforcement agencies said the suspects were held in Arigidi-Akoko over various electoral offences in the Local Government area of the state.

In Rivers State, the superiority contest between Governor Nyesom Wike and the Minister of Transport, spurred violence in the state leading of the death six persons, before and during the election as soldiers mounted road blocks along major roads, and patrolled in their vans.

Despite the heavy presence of soldiers, violence erupted during the election in some local government areas as soldiers and operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad; (SARS) hijacked ballot boxes at polling units.

The soldiers, who moved from one polling unit to another, especially outside Port Harcourt, also allegedly chased away or harassed PDP agents and supporters that attempted to resist their interference in the election.

In some polling units, the security operatives supervised the disruption of election and the carting away of electoral materials by armed thugs who thumb-printed on the ballot papers.

At the collation centre in Emuoha Local Government Area, soldiers arrested and detained the council chairman, Chief Tom Aliezi, who was still detained at the time of this report despite party members launching a Free Aliezi Now campaign.

At Abana Community in Okrika Local Government Area, soldiers stormed a polling unit, hijacked voting materials and went ahead to vote at a building very close to a chieftain of the APC.

At unit 17, Ward 3, a chieftain of the APC stormed the area with patrol van filled with about a dozen soldiers who stopped voting and attempted to snatch ballot boxes under the full glare of the supporters of the PDP and APC, who acted as agents for African Alliance Congress, (AAC).

Also on the eve of the election, soldiers arrested the youth leader of PDP in Ogbodo in Ward 1, Isiokpo, Mr. Chijemazu Wabali.

In Bori in Khana Local Government Area, voters alleged that soldiers invaded the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and beat up the agents of the PDP, before driving them out of the office, just as soldiers stopped voting in Ward 3, Unit 4, Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area.

At Omuolo, Omagwa Ward 9, Unit 1 in Ikwerre Local Government Area, SARS operatives

stormed the place and snatched ballot boxes after voting had been concluded, just as the SARS operatives supervised the destruction of electoral materials in Ward 9, Unit 8 by thugs.

One Michael Abednego from Ward 8 was killed in unclear circumstances in Ahoada West, while another male victim was killed in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area.

In Luawii, an Ogoni Community in Khana Local Government Area, four persons were killed around 8:30 a.m. and two of the victims beheaded shortly after voting started in some local government areas.
Sources said that the Ogoni killing was cult-related, stressing that the rival cult gangs that had nothing to do with the election were behind it.

On the eve of the election, Mrs. Emilia Nte, a onetime chairperson of Andoni Local Government Area, and Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike was shot and abducted by gunmen in Egendem in Andoni, where she travelled to for the election. It is unclear whether or not she survived the gunshot.

Meanwhile, Governor Wike has again faulted soldiers’ participated in the election. The governor, who spoke when he voted at Unit 7, Ward 9 of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, however, declared that he was confident of victory despite the attempt to manipulate results in some local government areas.

The governor who was accompanied by his wife, Justice Eberechi, said: “We are hoping that it will continue to be like this. Sometimes, the voting goes on smoothly, but the main thing is at the Collation Centres.

 

“For now, we are satisfied and confident that we will win this election very well. We are not afraid. We don’t know how many local government areas they can manipulate. But with reports we are getting, even though they are trying to be funny, we shall win”.

“The way the military acted discouraged people from turning up. The role of the military is to provide security. But it is unfortunate that they directly participate. Police have no role in the elections. The military appears to have taken over police duties.”

Also speaking on the election, the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi described the election as relatively peaceful, noting that there had been no record of violence compared to what was witnessed in previous elections in the State.

Amaechi, who spoke to newsmen in his country home, Ubima, Ward 8, Unit 14, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state, where he voted, commended the Police, the Military and other security agencies for keeping the peace.

“So far, we have not heard of any shootings and killings. We are completely happy that the Army and the Police are everywhere maintaining the peace. We have held elections in Rivers State where over 15 to 20 persons were killed but this is the only election that has recorded peace and it is because of the presence of the military.

“The militants have fled because of the presence of the military and we are voting peacefully. And you know, one thing about the soldiers is that they are apolitical, they are neither supporting APC nor AAC or PDP. What they are doing is to maintain peace and ensure that nobody disrupts the process. I think we will prefer to have this kind of election where everybody is having peace,” Amaechi said.

In Delta State, five persons were feared dead after receiving gunshot injuries and rushed to an undisclosed hospital for life-support treatment, as Ugba Primary School in the locality became the battleground for loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) over the eligibility of some Hausa/Fulani voters.

Sunday Telegraph gathered that mayhem started when some strangers were allegedly smuggled in the town to rig the polls but the plot backfired. But APC leaders in the area insisted that the strangers were registered voters in the area and must vote but PDP loyalists disagreed, accusing APC of importing them from Asaba, the state capital.

Similarly, a Ward Chairman of one of the rival political parties in Oleh Ward 1, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, Mr. Vincent Egbogbo was reportedly stabbed by suspected political thugs

An unidentified election observer was killed at a polling unit close to the house of a political party leader in Enugu State, while one person each was killed in Imo and Akwa Ibom states respectively.

In Osun State, activities took a new dimension in Ijeshaland, in Obokun Local Government when electorate were reportedly forced by political parties to straddle a locally produced guns as part of an oath, to ensure they voted for them after receiving the sum of N5,000 bribe.

Close to the venues of the oath-taking, fierce-looking thugs were overheard saying, “if you collect our money and betray us, the god of iron will strike you and gods of the land will also descend on you with sudden death and leprosy.”

In Kano State, the police intercepted a vehicle loaded with thump-printed ballot papers and arrested its occupants all of whom are cooling their heels at the State Criminal Investigation Department of the Command.

The Spokesman of the Kano Command, DSP Haruna Abdullahi said the vehicle was intercepted at Magwan polling unit in Nassarawa Local Government Area of the state.

In some parts of Benue State, the election was marred by violence as thugs chased away voters including a retired senior civil servant and one time General Manager of defunct Agricultural Development Corporation, while election materials were burnt in Mbalom in Gwer West, Gboko and Tarka local governments. The REC stated that the elections in those areas would have been rescheduled and would be conducted at a later date

In Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, about 36,392 voters were yesterday disenfranchised following the burning down of Independent National Electoral Commission Registration Area Center (RAC) in Okposi Umuoghara by suspected political thugs.

Consumed in the conflagration at RAC were election sensitive materials in the area including a primary school located in the center. Three wards in the area Oriuzor, Ekka and Umuoghara having 27 voting units were affected. .

The state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor Godswill Obioma told journalists in Abakaliki after inspecting the areas that he has reported the incident to national headquarters of the commission.

 

He said in Oriuzor RAC 009 which has 32 polling units 15,452 voters were disenfranchised while in Okposi Umuoghara RAC 07, which has 12, 802 voters, 27 voting points were affected.

 

NewTelegraph 

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