The local government election conducted by the Ekiti’ State government Saturday was married by low turnout of voters and violence in Ikere local government of the state.
In Ado Ekiti metropolis , the commercial motorcylists popularly called Okada riders were seen plying major roads, while traders opened their shops to make money despite the restriction order announced by the police between 8am and 2pm.
But in Ikere Ekiti, the the election, which was to elect the 16 local government chairmen and 177 councilors had started peaceful but was latter mared by violence, when person was killed and many people injured in a polling unit.
To avert disruption of the election by party thugs, the police commissioner, Mr. Asuquo Amba, deployed his men to all the 2,195 polling units across the state, warning potential trouble makers during the election.
Trouble started at Okitiko area along ISe/Emure road in Ikere -Ekiti, when some political thugs tried to snatch the ballot boxes from the State Independent Electoral Commission ,SIEC, officials.These officials, and prospective voters had take to their heels at the sound of gun shooting.
An interview with the APC chairmanship candidate, Mr Ayodele Oluwafemi said he was unaware of the incident, saying that the exercise was peaceful at his polling unit and within his area of the town.
Earlier in the day, the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon Funminiyi Afuye, who voted at St Johns Primary School in Ikere Ekiti declared support for e-voting electoral system, saying he was ready to support any action that will improve the country’s electioneering.
Afuye described the local government election as peaceful and devoid of actions that could truncate free and fair outcome.
He said, “Unlike in the past when local government elections were like wars, this one is free and fair, we don’t believe in violence. If you have something to showcase, you have no reason to be violent. No incidence of intimidation. Both the PDP and APC are mobilising for this election”, he said.
The APC State Chairman, Mr Paul Omotoso, who voted Imesi Ekiti in Gbonyin local government commended the peaceful nature of the poll, praising Fayemi for setting a pace on how best to conduct a credible poll.
The Information Commissioner, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, who voted at Community Pilot School, polling unit 006, Oke Osun ward in Ikere , praised the State Independent Electoral Commission(SIEC) for the smooth conduct of the election.
While voting at Ward 2, unit 008 ,the Special Assistant to the Governor on Development Partnership , Mrs Margaret Fagboyo, hinged the low turnout as a confirmation that the PDP has been weakened in the state.
Reacting to the outcome of the election, the PDP chairman in Ekiti’, Barr Gboyega Oguntuase said: “From what we heard all over, the election is riddled with violence, obviously as expected in an APC state. it is not fair, as I speak with you, it is believed that they have shot one person dead as one or two persons received gun shots.
“In ikole local government, the number of boxes that were to go to Ijesa Isu, Odo Oro, ward 4 in Ikole, all of them were reduced. Where the boxes were, nobody could account for them. That is a clear case of ballot stuffing. In ise Orun, very early in the morning, they unleashed terror on PDP people, seized all the ballot boxes from the units. The same thing applies to Emure and Ekiti East.”
On whether the PDP will reject the outcome, “Can any reasonable person accept the result of an election that is riddled with violence and fraud? It is clear. We won’t accept it”.
On whether the PDP will go to court, Oguntuase said consultations will be made with the leaders to know the next line of action.
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“We warned them earlier. We told them that we might not have a free and fair election with the calibre of people they put at SIEC and with the nature of APC. See what they did in kogi and Bayelsa for instance. They cannot tolerate true democracy”.