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Bye-Elections: Violence trails election in Imo, Ondo

By Anietie Akpan (Calabar), Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri) and Oluwaseun Akingboye (Akure)
27 February 2022   |   4:08 am
Electoral officers were abducted by some masked gunmen during yesterday’s bye-election to fill the vacant Ngor Opkala constituency seat in Imo State.

Electorate Lauds INEC On Bimodal Machine In Cross River
Electoral officers were abducted by some masked gunmen during yesterday’s bye-election to fill the vacant Ngor Opkala constituency seat in Imo State.

Also, some electoral materials were allegedly snatched from the officials in some polling units, just as the officials of the election management body (EMB), ran into toilets for safety in some units when violence erupted.

It was a similar scenario, when pandemonium erupted at Gbogi Isinkan II, Ward 3, Unit 14 of Akure South Local Council, Ondo State as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency bye-election, Mayokun Alade, was chased out of his polling unit.

The incident almost marred electioneering process at the polling unit, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused Alade of financial inducement, but for the timely intervention of security agencies and APC leaders who whisked him out of the venue, he would have been mobbed.

The Public Relations Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State, Dr. Chinenye Chijioke -Osuji who confirmed the incidents said the dogged search and rescue tactics of the security operatives deployed to the area led by the Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Hussaini, led to the rescue of the abductees.

The areas where the materials were allegedly carted away include Elelem/Obike RA 3, Unit 002; and RA 11 Polling Unit 10, where policemen allegedly ran away among others.
In Ondo State, eyewitnesses recounted that the people protested against the APC candidate as he was seen from a distance giving some people money, allegedly to induce them to vote for him.

He reportedly moved out of the scene as the people mobilised against him, causing serious furore at the polling unit. This, they said, prevented him from voting. Some APC members, who pleaded not to be mentioned, confirmed the incident and revealed that their candidate only appreciated party supporters by giving them money for soft drinks. 

Meanwhile, voters who participated in the Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency bye-election, Cross River State commended INEC for the use of bimodal (BIVAS) voter accreditation system in the election.

They said the system is the best, as it’s faster and more reliable than the card reader, hence INEC should continue using it.

In an election that witnessed an unprecedented turnout, the poll started on schedule in most places and was peaceful in Igoli, Mission road, Ogoja Urban one, St Benedict’s Primary school, Ogoja ba twin Comprehensive Secondary school Ndok, play ground polling unit, and others in Ogoja, Okuku, Okpoma, Gaga and others in Yala, election was free with large turnout. Similarly in Mbube and Ukelle and Gaga areas election went on freely.

One of the voters at Primary School, Ochobi Olachor, Prince Charles Onor, said, ‘’I must commend INEC for this election. I am very satisfied with the process of the election. There’s security and it is peaceful. If you go round yourself, you will see that there is no problem anywhere, and that it is generally free and fair. The bimodal system of accreditation is very good and reliable and it’s the best so far….”