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Ondo bye election: Police quiz Senator, 3 Reps

* Over alleged possession of stuffed ballot boxes
*Interrpgated for two hours by AIG

By Dayo Johnson

Akure – THE Police in Ondo State, yesterday, quizzed the senator representing Ondo Central, Chief Gbenga Ogunniya and three members of the House of Representatives for allegedly being in possession of two boxes containing already thumb printed ballot papers during the bye-election into the Akoko South-West / South East constituency of the state.

The three Reps are: Messrs Gbenga Elegbeleye (Akoko North East / North West); Temitayo Fawehinmi (Ondo East / West) and Emmanuel Adedeji (Ile-Oluji / Oke Igbo / Odigbo).

Ogunniya is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs.
He and the Reps were interrogated by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, Alhaji Muktar Abass and the state deputy commissioner of police, Mr. Henry Fadairo.

INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu and the Inspector General of Police Ogbonna Onovo
INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu and the Inspector General of Police Ogbonna Onovo

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the federal legislators were accosted by supporters of the other parties around CAC Owolagba, Oka polling booth Unit 002 at Ward 4. About 40 policemen were said to be in their entourage. Two Peugeot 407 series with number plates MHR 331 and NASS FL132 REP as well as two ballot boxes were sighted at the Kese Police station at Oka during the interrogation.

A mob that gathered at the scene of the arrest of the federal legislators almost lynched them but for the intervention of the state deputy governor, Alhaji Alli Olanusi who rushed there.

The AIG denied that the NASS members were arrested, but only “invited” for discussion following complaints from the other party” (presumably the Labour Party). Muktar declined to comment on the alleged thumb printed ballot papers said to have been recovered from them.

He told reporters: “I don’t know about that one, ask him (Ogunniya) when he comes out. I was sent from the headquarters to come and maintain law and order during this election period. The whole exercise is peaceful except for some hitches here and there but we are on top of the situation.

I am not here to cast vote or to snatch ballot boxes. I am here to maintain peace and I will deal decisively with anybody no matter how highly placed who tries to cause mayhem during the election.”

Six thugs, according to him, were arrested with arms and ammunition during the election.

The bye election was relatively peaceful and was contested by four parties: Debo Ologunagba of LP, Mr. Tunde Eniola AD, Jimmy Adedapo of PDP and Tunde Okoli AC. The death of Joe Anota of PDP in 2007 necessitated the bye election. Elegbele denied that they were arrested after leaving the police station saying they decided to go there on their own.

The deputy governor who followed other party supporters to the station to report the members left them there. In an interview the deputy governor said “Ogunniya and others have no business to be here. They are not stakeholders. They do not belong to this constituency. We have therefore asked them to go away.” He was also not forth coming on the ballot boxes recovered by the police saying, “I don’t know how the boxes got to the station.

Meanwhile, the PDP state chairman Dr Tayo Dairo described the election as peaceful just as the deputy governor Alhaji Olanusi commended the police and other security agencies for conducting the election peacefully.

The election was peaceful in Ifira, Ipesi, Oka , Iwaro-Oka, Akungba, Epinmi, Supare, Oyara, Oba, Oba-Ose and Ikun visited by Sunday Vanguard.


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