By Dayo Johnson
AKURE—NO fewer than six persons, including a member of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, died during Saturday’s House of Assembly election across Ondo State.
The dead included two suspected thugs that were shot dead on Saturday, while they attempted to overrun the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, collation centre in Oba-Akoko area of the state.
Police vehicles, buildings and other structures were torched by the thugs, who attempted to hijack electoral materials at the collation centre but failed.
This came as All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state won 23 of the 26 House of Assembly seats, while Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, won a seat each.
The PDP candidate for the Ondo South senatorial district, Nicolas Tofowomo, also won the supplementary election, defeating an incumbent, Yele Omogunwa.
Bloody clash in Odigbo
Four persons were reportedly shot dead during a bloody clash between supporters of APC and PDP in Odigbo council area of the state.
Two other persons, including an NYSC member, lbrahim Okanlawon, and an ad hoc staff of INEC reportedly died in a boat mishap in the riverine area of the state after the election.
The corps member, who served as one of the INEC ad hoc staff, with his colleagues, were said to be returning from Ward 2 in Agadagba-Obon after completing their duty when the incident occurred.
The Police Public Relations Officer for Ondo Command, Femi Joseph, said only two deaths, including the corps member, were recorded.
He also added that 20 suspects have been arrested by the Police while attempting to attack INEC collation centre
Reports had it that the alleged electoral fraud in the Odigbo state Constituency 1 election, where the incumbent Deputy Speaker, Mr. Iroju Ogundeji, emerged winner, sparked off protest which led to a shootout between youths and security operatives invited by the candidate of the ruling APC.
For hours, Lagos-Ore Highway was locked down as a bloody fight ensued between supporters of the parties and security operatives.
Also, seven others, who survived the boat mishap but sustained various degrees of injuries, were swiftly taken to a community health centre in Ese-Odo.
Reports had it that the deceased didn’t use life jacket at the time the accident occurred and efforts to save them proved abortive.
Meanwhile, the state government has ordered restriction of all human and vehicular movement in Oba-Akoko, Akoko South-West council area of the state over electoral violence.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who visited the troubled Oba-Akoko yesterday, condemned the violence where two persons were killed.
Accompanied by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Undie Adie, Governor Akeredolu, who expressed displeasure at the level of devastation at the Divisional Police Station and its barracks, wondered why the perpetrators of the acts could embark on such criminality and lawlessness.
He said the state government would set up a panel of inquiry to find out the immediate and remote causes of the incident and determine the cost implication of damages done to public and private property.
The state Commissioner of Police had earlier briefed the governor on how his men at the station were overpowered by a mob, whose actions were politically motivated, after they had illegally blocked all entries into the town.
Adie, who confirmed the arrest of some hoodlums who he said engaged in various forms of electoral offences, assured that there would be enough reinforcements to restore peace and order.
Vanguard learned that the thugs planned to destroy election materials, including ballot boxes and result sheets, in parts of Akoko South-West Local Government Area, but met stiff resistance from security personnel, who dislodged them, with the electoral officials and materials used in the election rescued to the collation centre in Iwaro-Oka.