*Polls characterised by violence
BY DAPO AKINREFON & GBENGA OKE
PEOPLE’S Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday defeated the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in a keenly contested bye-election in Ibeju Lekki Federal Constituency in Lagos by a total votes of 8805 for PDP and 6867 for AD, despite the Conference of Political Parties, CPP, support for the latter.
The election which recorded a total of 16,714 votes, saw DPA scoring 24 votes, UNPP 5, PPP 805, APN 18 and PPA 1 vote, with total rejected votes of 1174.
The election was however characterised by low turn-out, violence and ballot box snatching. The poll which was a straight fight between AD, and PDP, following the disqualification of Action Congress, AC, candidate, started on schedule at 8 a.m. before hell was let loose.
While a party supporter, suspected to be a thug, was dealt matchet blow, four locally fabricated pistols were recovered from another party loyalist even as two ballot boxes were snatched at Lepiya and Okegelu areas with only one recovered.
In addition, the Lagos State Chairman of AD, Alhaji Lateef Raji, was beaten by suspected PDP supporters, journalists who came to cover the election were chased away by alleged PDP youths.
In Ward D, Unit 1.4 suspected thugs were apprehended by policemen when they attempted to snatch ballot boxes. The timely intervention of mobile policemen led by ACP Suraj Omar made the snatching impossible.
According to Omar, four locally made guns with 16 live ammunition were recovered from four suspected thugs. He however, said the timely intervention of the Police prevented them adding that the suspects have been taken to the Force Headquarters.
The AD chairmen, Raji explained to Sunday Vanguard that suspected PDP youths had accosted him and queried his rationale for coming to monitor elections in the area.
Raji alleged that â€˜I was beaten by PDP members at Orimedu unit in one of the stronghold of Bode Oyedele. Infact, It was in front of Hon Folami Olorunteleâ€™s house, they also poured Kunu on me after I was beatenâ€™.
While reacting to the allegation of snatching of ballot boxes by the PDP supporters, Lagos PDP publicity secretary, Dr Wale Ahmed dismissed such claims, saying that, â€œPDP has no reason to snatch ballot boxes because the party controls the LGA, we are also popular in Ibeju-Lekki.Â There is no reason for thatâ€.
Meanwhile, in Lepiya and Okegelu, suspected thugs in police uniform were alleged to have stormed the area to snatch ballot boxes. Two ballot boxes were snatched but one was later recovered by the police.
But Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Marvel Akpoyibo assured that the police authorities will investigate the matter and find out if those suspects were actually police men. As at the time of going to press, results from three wards had arrived, while the remaining results from other collation centres were yet to arrive.
AD Chairman in Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Raji, while reacting to the outcome of the bye-elections said that the PDP did not win the poll just as he rejected the results.
Raji further said the leadership of the party at the national level will be consulted adding that if going to court remains the last option, â€œwe shall seek redress in a court of law.â€