Olufemi Atoyebi, Tunde Ajaja and Tobi Aworinde
The All Progressives Congress candidate in the Ekiti State governorship election, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has won the poll held on Saturday.
From the results of the 16 local government areas in the state, Fayemi defeated his closest rival, Prof. Kolapo Olusola of the Peoples Democratic Party, in 12 LGAs.
Fayemi polled 178,913 while Olusola scored 178,114 votes.
The election witnessed a large turnout of voters and early arrival of the ad hoc staff and supervisors of INEC at polling units.
Voting materials also arrived early in many polling units across the state while voters conducted themselves well during accreditation process.
But tension set in as allegations of vote-buying were levelled against party agents by voters in some polling units. In some cases, the situation led to friction among loyalists of various political parties.
At Ward 12 in the Igbehin area of Ado-Ekiti, an elderly voter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accused the All Progressives Congress of offering N5,000 to those who had the Permanent Voter Card to secure their votes. He said he rejected the offer.
“I was offered N5,000 to vote for the party but I rejected it. I am 73 years old retired teacher. I cannot allow the future of my children to be bought by moneybags. I don’t know how we descended to this level when people brazenly offer money to people to secure their votes. It was not like this in the past. Will our votes count with this problem?” he asked.
In Ayegbaju and Oye-Ekiti, it was alleged that party agents paid those who had no PVC N2,000 to vote in connivance with the INEC officials.
A source, who simply identified herself as Bimbo, said after those who had PVC had voted, some of the remaining ballot papers were thumb-printed by youths who had no PVC with the promise of financial gratification.
She said, “If you look well and observe the polling units, the INEC officials connive to allow this thing to happen. They pretended to check the fingerprint but it is fraud they are perpetrating.”
The Peoples Democratic Party was also accused of offering voters N3,000 each to secure their votes. Apart from the reported N3,000 allegedly paid to some civil servants and pensioners by the PDP-led state government, the party agents were accused of going from house to house, approaching voters who possessed PVC.
INEC’s preparation, which the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, had described as foolproof, failed some of the tests on the election day. Although election materials got to many of the polling units early, there were reports of the card readers failing to function properly.
At Ward 11, Unit 009 in Ishan-Ekiti, where the APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi, voted, his wife, Erelu Bisi, could not vote immediately as the card reader failed to recognise her PVC. The husband expressed apprehension over the situation, saying her vote must count for him.
Loyalists of the PDP in Ado-Ekiti also accused INEC of deliberately allowing the APC supporters to vote while card readers rejected PDP voters in some of the polling units.
At the polling unit in front of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, a man, who identified himself as a youth leader of the PDP in his ward, and who also identified himself as Alawe, said the card reader failed to recognise more than half of the people who wanted to vote for the PDP candidate, Kolapo Olusola.
Elsewhere in Ayede, in the North Senatorial District of the state, some voters also accused INEC of failure to perfect the technology and innovations deployed for the election before introducing them to the Ekiti election.
The election also recorded brigandage and fighting in some parts of the state. A man was injured in a fight among party supporters at Unit 11, Ward 04, at Ijigbo junction in Ado-Ekiti around 7.45am as queues were being formed after the arrival of INEC officials. It was not clear what caused the fight but it was quickly checked by policemen at the unit.
One of our correspondents, who visited polling units in the Fajuyi area of Ado-Ekiti, observed a large turnout of voters with glaring cases of vote-buying which voters called ‘see and buy.’ It was observed that the vote buyers demanded evidence of PVC and assurance that the seller would vote for their party before offering the money.
At Ward 10, Unit 02, security operatives accosted a female voter who had followed the due process of accreditation and voting, only to attempt photographing her ballot paper. The incident prompted uproar from other voters which led female officers to seize the voter’s mobile telephone while also compelling her to delete the photograph.
A source confirmed to SUNDAY PUNCH that a woman sitting by the new Fajuyi Bridge with three bags paid voters on behalf of one of the major political parties.
At one scene, a middle-aged man approached a youth and accused him of voting at the nearby Ward 10, Unit 13 and leaving the polling station to disrupt the conduct at Ward 10, Unit 02.
Another man was heard complaining that he voted and showed evidence to a political party as he demanded payment.
At Ward 10, Unit 13 in Ado-Ekiti, voters were agitated as a domestic electoral observer confided in one of our correspondents that the ‘see and buy’ arrangement had been at play, albeit discreetly.
The atmosphere at the ward was chaotic as a large number of frustrated voters unsuccessfully tried to get registered as a result of a malfunctioned card reader. Elderly men and women stood in the sun for more than three hours before provision was made for the replacement of the faulty card reader.
According to an electoral observer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, other areas that experienced pockets of violence included Ojumose, Damilore and Oke-Ila in Ado-Ekiti.
The source said policemen invited to the scene of the violence in Ojumose shot indiscriminately into the air to disperse the thugs. The source added that cases of ‘see and buy’ were also prevalent in the aforementioned areas.
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