Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Osogbo
Violence have marred the governorship re-run election held in Osogbo, Orolu, Ife North and Ife South Local Government Areas of Osun State.
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Despite the heavy presence of security operatives, including soldiers, police and DSS officers, suspected political thugs invaded many polling centres and chased members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) away.
Also, the thugs (who were allegedly working for the APC) beat journalists and election observers, even as cameras, laptops and other equipments belonging to the journalists were destroyed.
The governorship candidate of the Action Peoples Party (APP), Dr Ekundayo Precious Ademola was severely beaten at ward 05, Alekuwodo in Osogbo where the re-run held.
Ekundayo, who had escaped from the polling centre following a tip-off by some of his loyalists, was eventually caught at Olaiya junction where he was beaten to a state of coma.
The thugs attacked Ekundayo while granting an interview to the media. He was beaten in the presence of newsmen before being taken away.
Ekundayo, a former member of the APC who was also a former state chairman of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) recently defected to the APP.
Also in Orolu Local Government Area, members of the PDP in three polling units were chased away by the suspected political thugs.
The thugs, “state boys” allegedly funded by the state government, prevented members of the PDP from voting.
Security operatives at the polling centres failed to act when the matter was reported to them, and are alleged to have aided the thugs.
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In Gbogo, Kajola and Idi Iya units of Orolu where the re-run election was held, known members of the PDP were prevented from accessing polling centres.
Journalists and election observers were also prevented from accessing polling centres in Kajola, where thugs mounted roadblocks.
Some aggrieved members of the PDP in the area protested to the palace of the Olufon of Ifon-Orolu to register their displeasure at the ugly development.
It was learnt that the thugs were able to distinguish APC from PDP members because of the face cap and wrist bands used by the APC members.
A member of the PDP in the area, Mr Azzez Kadri, expressed worry ay the development, alleging that both the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) compromised the re-run.
He called for the cancellation of the exercise because members of the PDP were disenfranchised, having known that Orolu is a stronghold of the PDP.
In Osogbo, no fewer than four journalists working with the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC) narrowly escaped being lynched by the suspected APC thugs.
Two cars belonging to the journalists were vandalized, just as cameras and other equipment were destroyed.
The incident, which happened at Ward 05, Alekuwodo, Osogbo caused serious confusion as residents of the area scampered for safety.
The security agents stationed at the polling centres failed to intervene until the situation deteriorated and soldiers were deployed to the scene.
The soldiers, upon arriving, shot into the air and chased people away from the area.
Some victims of the brutal attack were drafted to an unknown destination by security agents, it was also learned.
Voting has ended in all polling centres as at the time of filing this report, with results yet to be announced.
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