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Amid recriminations from opposition parties over the use of existing voters’ registers for local government elections, some states yesterday went ahead to conduct the polls. But in some of the states, violence, doting bloodshed, arson and mass protests rocked the elections.
Amid recriminations from opposition parties over the use of existing voters’ registers for local government elections, some states yesterday went ahead to conduct the polls.
But in some of the states, violence, doting bloodshed, arson and mass protests rocked the elections.
Oyo, the hotbed of gangster politics, lived up to billing as five persons who were shot during the rancorous polls, are now feared dead.
In the same vein, about 130 suspected thugs were hurled into police detention, 70 of them coming from Ibadan, the state capital, base of controversial politician, Lamidi Adedibu.
As for Benin, the Edo State capital, residents fled for dear life as arson and booming guns heralded what was supposed to be council elections. After tension subsided in that state, a council headquarters and four electoral offices lay in ruins.
In all, Sunday Sun correspondents in Oyo, Ogun, Osun Edo and Enugu States observed that the polls were greeted by public apathy.
From AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan
The exercise was another day of the jackals, yesterday, in Oyo
State as political thugs stormed polling centres across the state, snatching ballot boxes and stuffing them with thumped-printed ballot papers.
Five persons were reportedly shot at Igboora, headquarters of Ibarapa Central Local Government area of the state by suspected thugs, led by a chieftain of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the council area.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Miss Olabisi Okuwobi, also confirmed the arrest of over 70 miscreants within Ibadan city alone while 60 others were brought in from Saki, in Oke-Ogun area of the state.
They were accused of committing various electoral offences raging from stealing of ballot papers, possession of arms and ammunition, hard drugs suspected to be Indian hemp and threat to peace of the state.
Earlier in the morning, former governor of the state, Alhaji Lam Adesina, who had been traversing the length and breadth of the state, urging his faction of the
Action Congress (AC) to partake in the election described the council poll as ‘a farce and a disgrace to the state, known for its pace-setting record’.
“If they allowed this type of situation to continue and the OYSIEC chairman does not correct this anomaly, they will know that this state could be very turbulent. If they think they can get away with this, they are joking. I am regretting that I asked my people to come and participate in the election,” Lam stated.
The former governor also accused the police of colluding with the state government by looking the other way while thugs and officials of the electoral body perpetrated electoral fraud.
From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Arson, violence, sporadic shootings and non-voting were the hallmarks of Edo State Local Government Council election which held yesterday amidst deployment of soldiers in the streets of Benin to assist the police to maintain peace.
Orhiomwon Local Government secretariat at Abudu and the State Independent Electoral Commission offices located at Abudu, Okada, Afuze, Iguobazuwa, Igueben were razed down by frustrated voters, just as sporadic shooting was recorded yesterday at Jathau in Etsako West local government area.
In Benin , the state capital, soldiers and policemen with two armoured personnel carriers (APC), were deployed to maintain peace, following attacks on Oredo EDSIEC office by angry voters who were protesting the illegal removal of electoral materials from the office the previous night.
Following the attack, several ballot papers and other electoral materials littered Sapele Road office of EDSIEC by second East Circular Road junction, even as several ballot boxes were seen abandoned at the premises.
In several of the voting centres visited by our correspondent in the Benin metropolis, no voting took place at the time of filing this report, as electoral officials and voters complained of lack of voting materials.
Commenting on the election, Action Congress governorship candidate for the State in the April 14, 2007 election, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole described it as a coup, saying the Action Congress would resist the coup until it was defeated.
Meanwhile, Governor Oserhiemen Osunbor has expressed satisfaction over the peaceful manner the people of Esan West Local Government area conducted themselves during the election.
From GABRIEL DIKE, Osogbo
The Local Government elections were boycotted by major opposition parties, though the exercise was generally peaceful. Voting materials got late to most of the polling centres in the state, especially Osogbo, the state capital.
Low turn out marred the election in most part of the state as few electorate participated in the polls but the Action Congress (AC) claimed that the electorate stayed indoors in compliance with opposition directive.
The AC and four other opposition political parties boycotted the election, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Progressive Action Congress (PAC) participated in the council polls.
The election, which started late in most part of the state ended before the official stipulated time, which was 5pm.
The Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola cast his vote at the Oyinlola DC primary school at ward 001 in Okuku, his hometown.
Same was replicated in the Ogun State, as the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the Action Congress (AC) boycotted the polls, leaving the ruling PDP to dominate the scene
The absenting parties in a statement in Abeokuta yesterday, described the election as illegal, saying it is subjudice, having become a subject of litigation.
But Mrs Tunrayo Adeleye-Oladapo, a member of the state House of Assembly representing Ifo Constituency 2, who is a PDP chieftain, sneered at the opposition
“For all I know, this is a free and fair election; we have six other parties participating and the people know the candidates to vote for.”
She denied that the PDP intimidated the others out of the race, saying “If you know Governor Gbenga Daniel, you’ll know that nobody can intimidate anybody in his state.”
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