Ballot box snatching, low turnout mar elections in Ogun
• Stray Bullet Hits Resident
• Otegbeye Expresses Confidence Over Polls
• Election Was Flawless – Senator Adeola
Unlike the Presidential and National Assembly elections, adjudged peaceful, yesterday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Ogun State, witnessed ballot boxes snatching, vote-buying, sporadic shootings as well as what could be described as “moderate turnout of voters,” among other hitches.
The polls, which took off on a peaceful note, suddenly turned violent in Iperu Remo, Ikenne Local Council, Governor Dapo Abiodun’s town, as hoodlums suspected to be political thugs snatched two ballot boxes at Polling Unit 05, Ward 03 in Ayegbami area of the town.
The hoodlums, whose number could not be ascertained, invaded the polling unit on motorcycles and started shooting into the air to chase away voters.
They, however, succeeded at escaping with one of the ballot boxes, before policemen on election duty at the nearby road intersection responded with corresponding gun shots to the scene.
Meanwhile, an Assistant Polling Officer (APO) for the unit, Alalade Babatunde was beaten to a pulp.
The development, however, resulted in chaos, forcing majority of the electorate to scamper for safety to avoid being hit by strayed bullets.
It was also gathered that a resident of Itori –Odo area in the capital city, was hit by a stray bullet, while law enforcement agents were trying to scare away hoodlums. The victim was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, where he is currently receiving treatment.
Though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad hoc staff arrived at the polling units as early as 8:00a.m., voter apathy was recorded in major parts of the state, especially Ogun Central and East, as people stayed indoors, while others were seen at various Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in banks struggling to withdraw cash.
It was a clear departure in Ogun West, especially Ilaro, the country home of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Governorship Candidate, Olubiyi Otegebeye, Owode, Iwoye and others, as the area recorded massive turnout of voters.
However, the INEC was commended for improving on the lapses recorded in the last election, especially in the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
At polling unit 011, Ward 5, situated at Open field, Wesley Nursery and Primary School, Iperu, the Presiding Officer, Aribisala Opeyemi, described the BVAS performance as impressive.
He disclosed that from the 719 registered voters at the unit, 76 voters were accredited as at 8.50am.
Otegbeye, however, expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the elections in the state.
Speaking with journalists after casting his vote at his Ward 1, Polling Unit 1, State Hospital, Ilaro, Yewa South Local Council, he said the exercise was seamless.
The governorship candidate, dressed in white native agbada with green cap, said: “To the glory of God, everything looks peaceful. Everybody is orderly and I can see the excitement and enthusiasm to cast their votes.
“The electoral officers are on duty. They are cautious and everything seems to be going on smoothly. I am expecting an overwhelming victory for myself and my party.”
Also, Governor Abiodun and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Ladi Adebutu, cast their votes at their respective polling units in Iperu area.
While Abiodun voted at his Unit 3 Ward 1 in Ita Osanyin area at 11:08 a.m., Adebutu voted at 10.59 a.m. at Ward 5, Polling Unit 4, Wesley Primary School, Iperu.
Adebutu described the turnout of voters as impressive and expressed hope that their votes would count at the end of the day.
On his part, the Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District and Senator-elect in Ogun West, Ogun State, Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, also lauded the INEC for the peaceful conduct of the state elections.
Adeola, popularly known as Yayi, who disclosed this after casting his vote in his country home, Ilaro, said so far: “There’s no tension, no challenges anywhere. We can only hope for the best, so that everybody will be happy with the effort put on place by INEC.”
The senator said the exercise was free, as the electorate were given opportunity to exercise their franchise, adding that the process had been flawless.
“There was massive improvement from what we had in the last elections. It is our hope that the process remained the same throughout today, so that when the result would come out everybody would be happy. So far, so good, we are happy and the exercise is encouraging.”