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Violence galore in Ekiti, Oyo rerun

*Ex-gov Adebayo attacked
*Shootings around monarch’s palace
*AC candidate arrested

By Gbenga Ariyibi, Ola Ajayi  & Dapo Akinrefon

Violence and mal-practices characterised  yesterday’s Ekiti North Senatorial re-run election, even as the Action Congress (AC) candidate, Bunmi Adetunmbi, was arrested at Ifaki, his home town, by the acting commissioner of police in Ekiti State, Fabian Osiji, for alleged instigation of crisis in  the town. Adetunmbi was later moved to the headquarters of the state police  command for questioning.

At yesterday’s election, the first civilian governor of the state, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, was attacked by suspected hoodlums at Iludun Ekiti while acting as his party’s (AC) observer.

Adebayo who had  the windscreen of his  Toyota sports utility vehicle, SUV, smashed fingered the chairman of llejemeje Local Government, Chief Ebenezer Oladipo, as responsible for the  attack. Also, former secretary to the state government during the regime of Ayo Fayose in the state, Evangelist Adeola Alofe, was arrested at his Ayetoro Ekiti  home. Alofe, who is a chieftain of AC, was arrested  for an attempted bid to distrupt the election.

In the same manner, the chairman of Moba Local Government, Mr Akin Alebiosu,  who was allegedly in company of about 25 thugs with arms, was arrested and moved to the headquarters of the state police command. There was tension, especially in Ifaki Ekiti, Adetunmbi and Governor Segun Oni’s hometown. There were sporadic shootings around the palace of Olufaki, Oba Gabriel Agbaje.

Some of the vehicles suspected to have been used to rig the election were set ablaze in the town. Even journalists covering the election were not spared, as the camera of Tunji Olarewaju, a reporter attached to the African Independent Television (AIT) was smashed, while the vehicle conveying correspondents of media establishments covering the poll was ordered to leave the town ‘immediately because of your  usual negative reporting’.

At the Federal Science and Technical College, Usi Ekiti, the voters register of another voting unit were brought to the centre. Chief Femi Akinyemi, chairman of the Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission, said the people may be forced to ask the INEC to extend the time of voting so as not to deny the electorate the  chance  of voting the  candidate of their choice.

At Otun Ekiti, headquarters of Moba local Government, the place was peaceful but for pockets of protests here and there, even as the deputy speaker of the state House of Assembly, Saliu Adeoti, alleged that electoral malpractices were being perfected at the palace of a quarter chief.

At Oye Ekiti, the home town of Chief Ayo Arise, the PDP candidate in the election, there was low turn-out of voters. It was the same story at Ikole Ekiti. At Ipao Ekiti, an attempted bid to hijack ballot boxes by some hoodlums was resisted by supporters of a candidate, while ballot papers littered the streets. Narrating his ordeal in the hands of his attackers, Adebayo said hardly had he alighted from his vehicle than the hoodlums at Iludun allegedly led by the orderly of the chairman of Ilejemeje LGA rushed at him and started throwing all sorts of dangerous materials to where he stood, saying he was saved by the intervention of his security aides.

He said his presence in the area may have sent a signal to the leadership of the PDP that he would not allow them to manipulate the election. He said he has formally reported the matter at the Iye Ekiti Police Station where he was assured by the DPO and the governor, Engr Oni, who promised to take up the matter personally.

Mal-practices: Meanwhile, the rerun election into the two vacant seats of Oorelope and Lagelu constituencies in the Oyo State House of Assembly that held yesterday was marred by fraudulent acts. The Court of Appeal had cancelled the election of two lawmakers, Dauda Lawal and Micheal Okunlade, who were voted on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, into the legislative arm, on the grounds that they were riddled with irregularities and didn’t comply with the Electoral Act 2006. Like in the previous elections, thugs numbering 30 were loaded in two commercial buses and had a field day in Oyedeji, Apatere, Elesu, Alape and environs where voters were intimidated. Armed with cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, they stormed Elesu village, destroying anything they found around.


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