Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State governorship election held yesterday was characterized by cases of ballot box snatching, kidnap of party agents, malfunction of card readers characterized the poll even as thugs hired by one the major parties prevented voters from casting their ballots in some areas of Ado Ekiti, state capital.
Ado Ekiti has the largest concentration of the electorate with a capacity of about 50 percent of the total votes in the state.
While the electorate had turned out en mass as early as 6:30 am for accreditation and voting which ran simultaneously, allegations of forcing voters to sell their votes was made by persons who identified themselves as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party and Social Democrat Party (SDP) who accused persons suspected to be thugs of the All Progressive Congress (APC), of forcing voters on the queue to sell their votes for between N5,000 and N10,000. There were also allegation that some secu- rity agents were comprised, to interfere with process by moving too close to voting points as Sunday Sun report- er observed at some polling units in Okeyinmi and Oke Ila areas of Ado Ekiti.
Voters at Agric and Matthew areas of Ado Ekiti also alleged that voters were being prevented by thugs from voting. They alleged that thugs kidnapped agents of PDP while many of the party’s members were also prevented from voting.
Similarly, there were allegations that members of APC were disenfranchised at the voting unit around the palace of the Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Samuel Alagbado, but spokesman of the Ogoga, Tope Ariyo, denied the reports and said all people who were at the polling unit voted.
The issue of vote buying and preventing voters from casting their ballot resulted in a fracas in the Oke Ila area of Ado Ekiti, as suspected hoodlums snatched and destroyed ballot boxes in Saint Mary Immaculate school, Ado Ekiti, state capital.
Bishop of Ekiti Catholic Diocese, Bishop Felix Ajakaiye, who queued up to vote at polling Unit 4 at the Jonathan Memorial School in Ado Ekiti, said that INEC was slow in verifying the voters. He said the voters could get bored and return home and INEC would turn around to complain about voters’ apathy. He expressed the hoped that the electoral umpire would improve on the ugly development.
They also alleged that se- curity operatives moved too close to voting points and openly induced the elector- ate to vote for opposition.
Prince Dayo Adeyeye, who voted at the palace of Arinjale in Ise, Ise Orun Lo- cal Government Area, ver, said that voting was free and fair and devoid of violence or box snatching in his LGA.