Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
Candidate of National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP) in the just-concluded governorship election in Ekiti State, Mr. Babatunde Oladapo Alegbeleye and the spokesman of All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, exchanged verbal invectives over the results of July 14 governorship election in the state.
Alegbeleye rejected the results of the election as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He claimed, in a statement released to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, on Wednesday, that the July 14 poll was marred by “open financial inducement, which seems to be a rape to our precious democracy.”
The NDLP candidate said: “I have nothing against the Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the APC candidate in the election, but a situation where APC in connivance with security personnel at every polling unit went about inducing electorates with cash is condemnable.
“The act of inducing electorates with cash, according to the Electoral Act is a criminal offence and up till now, no single APC agent or group of people have been arrested over such a crime for prosecution by the security personnel and this is condemnable.”
Alegbeleye also lamented that what it said was the advantage of the poverty situation in the state, saying “APC as a party has succeeded in taking advantage of the high level of poverty in the state to clinch to victory, at the expense of the rule of law.”
He also expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the security agencies, especially the police, alleging that “the Nigeria Police force should be condemned for giving cover to APC agents as they financially and openly induced voters and bought votes in all the 2195 polling units in the state.”
He also alleged that security agents gave cover “against the other political party agents to be intimidated, harassed and driven away from these polling units so that APC can successfully carry out such an unlawful act without being challenged and questioned by other party agents.”
He warned that “if Nigeria electoral process continues like this in the nearest future, our precious democracy in the country may cease to be.”
However, the APC had denied inducing the electorate in the election, saying it was not true that the party paid money for votes.
Publicity Secretary of APC in the state, Chief Taiwo Olatunbosun, who denied the allegations of vote-buying, said, “The party did not join in the despicable act of vote-buying through inducement to con the people of Ekiti.”
Olatunbosun said he could “Vouch that APC never got itself involved in vote-buying; rather, the party gave some stipends to its agents legitimately as honorarium for their services.”
“We condemn this illegal act, and we declare that we were never part of this act. We are also demanding that the full weight of the law be brought down upon those who perpetrated the act,” he stated.