By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose on Saturday alleged that the gubernatorial election that took place in the state was largely compromised by men of the Nigerian police.
The governor who addressed newsmen shortly after casting his vote at exactly 1:20pm, at his Unit 001, Afao Ekiti, his country home, alleged that policemen aided and abetted open distribution of money and ballot snatching.
He, however agreed that voters turned out massively and conducted themselves peacefully,.
He alleged that policemen were reported to be supervising ballot snatching as well as provided cover for those engaged in illegal sharing of money on the election day.
According to him, all attempts to personally report the alleged incidences to police high authorities were rebuffed.
Fayose claimed that most of the observers that came to monitor the poll in different parts of the state got wind of the attacks, but that there was nothing they could do to stop the situation.
The governor declared that the candidate of PDP, Prof. Kolapo Olusola would still win the polls despite all odds.
He said information at his disposal revealed that INEC seemed to have good intentions about the election, but lamented that policemen thwarted such efforts.
“I want to state expressly that police have hijacked the whole process, INEC might mean well but the process was tamoered with by the police
” As I speak,thugs are having a field day snatching ballot boxes under police watch, this is a national disgrace
” There were cases of not only ballot snatching, but ballot cleansing and clearing, even as the police and other officers cooperated by looking the other way.
“In all the Local Governments, chieftains of my party are also being arrested indiscriminately a.d bundled into detention this morning for no just cause, and the list include my Chief of Staff, PDP Senators, Reps among others
” The situation was so bad that people distributing money to secure votes were doing so while sitting side by side with policemen”, the governor said.
While the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Kolapo Olusola has expressed optimism that he would win the gubernatorial polls.
Olusola spoke shortly after he cast his vote at unit 001, ward 001, Okeruku, in Ikere-Ekiti.
The deputy governor had earlier encountered challenges before he could vote as a result of the non recognition of his Permanent Voters Card(PVC) by the card reader.
Olusola eventually voted after the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had replaced the readers card in his polling centre.
He expressed worry on the initial challenges experienced in voting, just as he observed that there are irregularities in some parts of the state during the election.
He raised the alarm over alleged attempts by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the election by conniving with the security agencies and INEC.
Also, the former Governor of Ekiti State and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Dr. Kayode Fayemi also voted in his ward at Ogilolo ward 11, unit 009 in Isan Ekiti, Oye Local Government area of Ekiti State.
Fayemi voted around 10.45am in company of some of his aides and party supporters after being on the queue for a period of ten minutes.
The former Minister branded the process as credible and peaceful, saying the will of the people will prevail.
“Nigerians decided to chose democracy over dictatorship and that is why all of us must guard this democracy jealously”, he said .
He, however, raised observation about the news that the smart card readers were malfunctioning in some towns.
The incident was pronounced in Ayede Ekiti, where people complained that their fingerprints were not detected by the machine.
Speaking further, Fayemi said: “With the news we have been gathering around, the process has been okay for now. So, I have faith in this election and I know the people of Ekiti will judge me based on what I did when I preside over this state and what this government is doing. They can see that the difference is clear”.
Earlier, eligible voters had trooped out in large numbers across the sixteen local Government areas the state to exercise their civic responsibilities to elect a new Governor that would run the affairs of the state for the next four years.
They converged at various polling booths as early as 6:00am, two hours ahead of regulation.
The electoral umpire had set 8:00am as commencement of both accreditation of voters and actual voting would take place simultaneously.
The commission, through the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof . Abdulganiyu Raji had earlier said that both exercises would also end exactly at 2:00pm.
However, most of the polling centres in Ado-Ekiti, state capital and hometown of Political Adviser to the President, Babafemi Ojudu, Afao Ekiti, hometown of incumbent governor Ayo Fayose and Ifaki Ekiti, hometown of former Governor Segun Oni were filled-up with voters before 6:30am.
Security agents as well as INEC officials deployed to observe the exercise also arrived at the voting centres with electoral materials, at about 7:30am, and started attending to the voters.
Security was firm in the early hours of the day, with combined men of the Nigerian Army, police, immigration as well as Civil Defence conducting patrols while some were detailed to man the polling centres
Most of the inter and intra-city roads linking major towns and villages were virtually empty as a result of human and vehicular movement restriction which is being enforced by security agents.