SIMON EBEGBULEM AND GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN CITY - THE rescheduled Local Government Council elections in Esan North East Local Government Council of Edo state held Tuesday amid tight security with leaders of both the APC and PDP accusing each other of rigging.
And in Esan North East ward 5 elections took a violent turn when political thugs hijacked ballot boxes and took to the bushes.
Elections into the twelve wards in the Council commenced peacefully up till 1: 30pm when violence erupted in ward 5 which boasted of the highest numbers of polling units in the council. The Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih and the Minister of Works, Arch Mike Onolemene were around to cast their votes.
Tension heightened at about 12:30pm at ward 5 when the people were yet to receive voting materials a MOPOL officer stormed the ward arresting some APC youths.The youths resisted him which created further tension at the polling unit.
However temporary relief came when the Edo state Commissioner of Police, Funsho Adebanjo and the state Director of SSS, Bello Bakori stormed the place to restore peace.
Adebanjo told Vanguard that “ there is water tight security, nobody will mess up here”. As at 12pm both leaders of the APC and PDP all agreed that the election was peaceful but expressed concerns over alleged plans to rig.
At ward 7, the member representing the area at the Federal House of Representative and PDP chieftain, Mr Friday Itulah said though the election commenced late but that he was happy that people are voting peacefully.
He however alleged that an EDSIEC official was seen with ink all over his body indicating that he may have been thumb printing for the APC candidate.
In his reaction APC chieftain Prince Joe Okojie accused the PDP of alleged rigging, harassment and intimidation of their members.
According to him ” sombody from this our community who is a MOPOL Commander based in Lagos who obviously is working for the PDP came this morning arresting three of our members. I went to the Police station to bail two of them but I was shocked while I was coming from the Police station he came to arrest two more persons.
” It was at that point that our people resisted him. The PDP try to use their federal might to intimidate and harass our people but we will resist them.
At Atani Primary School the camera of Tell magazine’s Director of Special Duties, Mrs Adekunbi Ero, was allegedly snatched from her by Political thugs as she attempt to shoot the scene of unrest at that particular unit. A reporter with the news Magazine Jethro Ebileke was also allegedly rough handled.
Meantime as at the time of filing the report early results indicated that the APC won the Councilorship by elections in ward 9, Ovia North East LG and in Isi ward Uhunmwode Local Government council.
In Esan North East ward 5 Uromi Girls Secondary School elections in this ward took a violent turn when political thugs hijacked ballot boxes and took to the bushes.
Armed Policemen shot sporadically when pursuing the thugs. Following the violent incident anxious voters took to their heels.
Efforts by the security operatives including the Edo state Commissioner of Police to convince the voters to come back and cast their votes met with brick wall due to fear of being shot.
Sam Oboh, chairmanship candidate of the APC and the John Yakubu traded words, also accusing each other of perpetrating violence. As at the time of filling this report, elections were still ongoing in most of the wards while efforts are being made by security agents to check the activities of thugs in most of the polling units.