Violence shadows Ekiti State(Nigeria) Election Rerun

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A victim of the violence
A victim of the violence

37 suspected political thugs were arrested and taken to the Police Command Headquarters in Ado-Ekiti. The arrests were effected by Deputy Inspector General, DIG, J. H. Ahmadu, in front of the Ifaki/Oye Road residence of Senator Ayo Arise.

In fact, DIG Ahmadu arrived in a seven- vehicle convoy at the Arise Villa residence of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senator. Skirmishes were reported in several parts of the 10 local government areas where the re-run took place, the level of violence in Oye was far higher. There were reported sporadic shootings at Oye.

Contrary to rumor that three people had lost their lives in the violence which rocked Oye, no casualties were recorded. The violence in Oye was sparked by allegations that some party loyalists to Senator Ayo Arise of the PDP, were chasing away election monitors and observers from their postings.

It was the reported response by loyalists of Action Congress, AC, which led to the breakdown of law and order as the AC supporters resisted attempts by the supporters of Senator Arise to scare away observers. Bottle-throwing thugs also entered the fray, with prospective voters scampering for dear life.

But Arise, in one of his reactions claimed that the AC knew that Oye was a PDP stronghold and, therefore, imported thugs who massed in front of his house. He claimed that it was AC who imported the thugs even as the thugs were seen fraternizing with loyalists of PDP.

INEC Federal Commissioner, Philip Umeadi, who was doing the rounds monitoring events in areas where elections were being conducted, and heading for Oye Ekiti, had to beat a retreat to Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

In an interview, Umeadi said all the areas “I have visited show that the people of Ekiti State have demonstrated that they can hold their own and be quite calm and collected. They have demonstrated that contrary to the drumbeats of war by politicians, they are ready to have a peaceful election.

“But as I was heading for Oye-Ekiti, news got to me that trouble had started in that area and I was advised to turn back based on security concerns. “When I insisted on visiting the place, the security reports we got indicated that it would not have been wise to proceed at that particular point in time and, therefore, I retreated. But I must tell you that the Police have been wonderful and what would have turned out to be a very ugly situation.”

Umeadi promised to give an update of the situation once he got confirmation of the situation on the ground. That update was to come in the form of an announcement by INEC that elections in the two wards in Oye-Ekiti have been postponed to today as a result of the violence which erupted in the area. And although DIG Ahmadu and his men were able to bring the situation under control, the Commission made it clear that it was already late to continue elections in the area. It cited time constraint as the major factor which prompted that decision for a postponement.

Suspected Political Thugs being bound by the Police Force
Suspected Political Thugs being bound by the Police Force

The arrest of the 37 youths, as counted by Sunday Vanguard, has led to accusations and counter accusations from the two leading political parties in the re-run, the PD and the Action Congress, AC. The 37 youths, armed with various charms and dangerous weapons, were alleged to be stuffing ballot boxes at the residence of Senator Arise.

Meanwhile, legal practitioners, Femi Falana and Dele Adesina, have vowed to take up the matter of the postponement of elections by INEC in Oye, to today. Earlier in the day at Ward one in Oye Local Government Area, the election was initially put on hold as no election materials were not supplied by INEC. The Commission said it was still monitoring elections as at that time.

At Ilupeju, also in Oye Local Government Area, supporters of Senator Arise and former state governor, Ayo Fayose, clashed. A Toyota Urvan bus was vandalized by thugs in the process. Mobile policemen immediately swung into action. The situation was brought under control. At Ise an AC chieftain, Chief Lawrence Agunbiade, along with his personal assistant received machete wounds.

They were attacked by thugs. It was gathered that Agunbiade was in the process of arranging for a bus to help transport some policemen at Emure when he was attacked. As at the time of sending this report, he was said to be receiving treatment at the General hospital at Ikere-Ekiti. Voting was peaceful at Ikole-Ekiti. However, at Ijero-Ekiti ward A all the ballot boxes were said to have been snatched by thugs.

Source: Vanguard Ngr & Punch Ngr

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