Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Allegations of violence and vote buying characterised the governorship election held in Ondo State yesterday.
Violence was recorded in some polling centres in the state, especially Akure, the state capital, Idanre and Emure-Ile among other towns.
This is even as cases of vote buying were recorded in almost all the polling centres in the state with the All Progressives Congress (APC) allegedly giving #5,000 to each of the voters, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allegedly gave #2,000.
The election-monitoring group, YIAGA Africa, confirmed the case of vote buying, and alleged that the three major political parties were involved in the scourge.
The group noted that several cases of vote buying were reported members of his team of observers who monitored the election across the 18 local government areas of the state.
Also, pandemonium broke out in Akure immediately voting began as gun-wielding men invaded a polling unit, shooting sporadically to disrupt the voting process.
The incident occurred at unit 04, ward 04, Ijomu/Obanla in Akure South Local Government Area of the state where efforts were made to snatch ballot boxes but to no avail.
A young man identified as Gboyega was shot in the process and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Prospective voters, media practitioners, election observers and INEC officials scampered for safety, as the hoodlums continued shooting for several minutes.
Operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other security personnel who were at Ijomu Junction also ran for safety.
It was gathered that men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), later brought the situation under control.
Tope, who witnessed the incident said that the thugs were members of one of the three main political parties that contested in the election.
He said: “They came here in their vehicle with guns and started shooting as soon as they came out. One of them went straight to the boy (Gboyega) and shot him at close range.
“The hoodlums are here with us, we know them and the people who sent them. One of them was among those who shot people on the street last week. The disturbing side of it is that the security men came, saw them with their guns, and yet allowed them to go. In fact, they escorted them out,” he added.
Also in Idanre, a National Youths Service corps (NYSC) member was allegedly kidnapped when youths attacked some polling centres in the town.
The thugs who were allegedly working for the All Progressives Congress (APC) sacked many of the polling centres in the town and its environs, thereby causing apprehension among the voters.
The thugs, who shot sporadically into the air in all the polling centres they stormed, also hijacked ballot boxes.
While some voters scampered for safety, the thugs wielded sophisticated guns and inflicted injuries on the voters.
At ward 09 in Omifun-Ofosun ward, voting had reached an advanced stage when the thugs stopped the process and snatched the ballot papers.
It was learnt that the thugs allegedly abducted a National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) member.
The thugs also allegedly sacked Legbira, Elebisire, Erinjo, Agric and Ajebandele polling units.
Ondo State Governor and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday won in his polling unit in the governorship election just as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede won in his polling unit.
Akeredolu polled 413 votes to win in the unit. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Eyitayo Jegede polled 12 votes, while the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, who is also the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party had no vote.
Jegede was declared winner at unit 02, Gbogi, Akure in Akure South Local Government Area of the state where he voted. He polled 220 votes while Akeredolu got 60 votes. The candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) Mr Agboola Ajayi had four votes. Results from other polling centres were still being collated as at press time.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the APC, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu is leading in the results announced so far at the various polling centres across the state.
Akeredolu who expressed optimism that he would win the election won with wide margin in all the polling units in Owo, his hometown.
While the PDP candidate, Mr Eyitayo Jegede was leading in Akure, his hometown, Akeredolu was said to be leading in other parts of the state.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was still collating result at ward level as at press time, results at unit level in the four local government areas in Akoko division and the riverine part of the state indicated that the APC was leading.
Meanwhile, two persons were yesterday arrested by a combined team of security operatives in Emure Ile in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State for allegedly being in possession of a fake permanent voters card (PVC).
The two persons were on queue at Unit 16, Ward 11, Oja Obada area of the town when they were arrested. The suspects were young individuals said to be between 18 and 20 years of age.
It was learnt that the suspects had made attempts to vote with PVCs that did not bear their names but were caught in the process.
The suspects, Sunday Sun gathered, were whisked away by security operatives despite pleas by some political leaders in the area. It was gathered that the police later detained the suspects