By Simon Ebegbulem & Gabriel Enogholase
MR. Kabiru Adjoto of Action Congress, AC, yesterday, defeated Mr. Anslem Agbabi of PDP in a re-run election into the Edo State House of Assembly for Akoko-Edo constituency.
Mr. Adjoto polled 5,335 votes against the 3,741 garnered by Mr. Agbabi. Violence, rigging and snatching of ballot boxes almost marred the election with the leader of the House of Representatives, Col.Tunde Akogun (rtd), and the senator representing Edo North, Alhaji Yisa Braimoh, describing the poll as a charade and called for its cancellation.
Over 15 political thugs were arrested at Igarra and Lampese home of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the election, Mr Anslem Agbabi, by anti-riot policemen when they allegedlyÂ attempted to snatch ballot boxes at aÂ polling unit.
But the leader of the Action Congress (AC) in Edo State, Senator Rowland Owie, who monitored the election, condemned the call for the cancellation of the election.
Owie said: â€œthe election was peaceful in so many areas such as Okpe, Dangbala, Ibillo, Afeyeh and Ikirin and I wonder why people are calling for cancellation because of what happened in Aiyegunle. We understood they were thumb printing in a PDP leaderâ€™sÂ house; why will they be doing that.
The truth is that Akoko Edo belongs to the AC and the PDP should know that. It is only those days that they rig that they claim they win elections. But the people of the state have rejected the PDP and that is why the AC is winning every where.â€
Meanwhile, Sunday Vanguard learnt that in the about 37 wards the AC was leading at the time of filling this report. At Aiyegunle, ward 7, the home town of the House of Representatives house leader, there was an alleged snaching of ballot boxes by the aides of the state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
One of the governorâ€™s senior special assistants was beaten to pulp by irate youths at a polling unit close to Akogunâ€™s house before he was rescued by the police who fired sporadically into the air.
The polling unit became a theater of war when the youths in the town resisted what they described as an influx of thugs and government officials from Benin, who theyÂ accused of snatching ballot boxes allocated to the polling booths in the area, thus depriving them the opportunity to cast their votes.
However, the state resident electoral commissioner, Mr Aniedi Abasi Ikoiwak, who was present when thereÂ was sporadic shooting at the polling booth narrowly escaped being lynched by the angry youths. HeÂ said that theÂ election in the area must be conducted and condemned the snatching of electoral materials.
Speaking with newsmen, Akogun accused a senior police officer attached to the governor of leading the team that came to snatch the ballot boxes at about 10 a.m. when people where already casting their votes.
He said: â€œWe have earlier complained to the police and told the whole world that the AC have imported thugs from Benin and the neighboring states to manipulate the election but no body cared to listen.
The PDP was ready for a free and fair election but today the report I have been getting is that the AC thugs have hijacked all the ballot boxes in areas they believed are PDP dominated areas so as to rig the election.
â€œI came home to pick my voterâ€™s register to vote but, I heard that a police officer came later to the polling booth to say that there was one of two things that they want to correct at the polling booth before elections could start.
I heard that some body said he is an Aide De Camp (ADC) to the governor who came with some mobile policemen and he had to take all the materials and ballot boxes from the polling unit.â€