For more than two hours, this reporter was on a motorcycle from Iraye Junction in Modakeke to locate PU 2, Ward 10, Oyere ll, Alapata village in Ife North Local Government Area.
The polling unit was one of the seven where rerun poll held on Thursday in the Osun State governorship election.
At the entrance to the village, along Powerline road linking Alapata to Alatapa village, the reporter and his motorcyclist were stopped by thugs suspected to be working for the All Progressives Congress (APC) who threatened them with guns.
At 8:15 a.m when this reporter eventually got to the polling unit, it was observed that there was no Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent on ground while others belonging to the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) were seem canvassing for the APC.
“If anybody supporting PDP come here, them go pay them without problem. But if them prove stubborn, them go die”, PREMIUM TIMES heard one of the thugs saying.
PREMIUM TIMES observed that many of the residents in the community were scared and were forced to dance to the tune of the politicians.
One of the voters who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES under the condition of anonymity said, “The soldiers, police and all these thugs have been here since 11p.m yesterday and many are voting based on instructions.”
Amongst all the security operatives, only soldiers were able to confront charms and cutlass-wielding thugs after complaints by some voters that they were harassed and threatened.
This PREMIUM TIMES reporter who took the picture of the scene where the thugs were disciplined by soldiers, was harassed and forced to delete all recordings.
Afterwards, his gadget’s memory card was destroyed.
Another attempt by this observer to take pictures was frustrated by a National Civil Defense officer who also demanded that all pictures be deleted until a soldier came to intervene. The soldier who monitored the pictures deleted warned the observer that phones and recording gadgets were not allowed at the polling unit.
However, PREMIUM TIMES observed that many of the thugs were putting on face caps with the logo of Osun State.
Influence Of Party Leaders:
Since the thugs succeeded in denying opposition party members from gaining entrance into the polling unit, PREMIUM TIMES observed that some voters voted twice with different voter’s cards made available to them by party leaders.
This was also accompanied by vote buying. When this reporter moved closer to get a clear picture of what was happening, security operatives instructed him to go back and face his business at the place where voting was taking place.
Despite the warning by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Joshak Habila, on Wednesday while addressing journalists at a press conference at the Police Command in Osogbo that anyone who has no business at the affected polling units should stay at home, PREMIUM TIMES observed the influence of some APC leaders who refused to stay back as instructed by the police.
Amongst the APC leaders present at the polling unit were Timothy Owoeye, the majority leader of Osun State House of Assembly, and Fatai Kolawole, the Permanent Secretary of State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB).
At 2:29 p.m., the result for the polling unit was declared by the presiding officer as follows:
Registered Voters – 353
Accredited – 133
Cast Vote – 130
Void – 1
APC – 126
PDP – 2
SDP – 0
ADC – 0
ADP – 1
Several efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to get the reaction of the Ife Police Area Commander at Moore, Funsho Adegboyega, on the observed development were unsuccessful as he refused to answer several calls put through his line. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him.
In the inconclusive election held Saturday, Ademola Adeleke of the PDP scored 254,698 votes to beat his APC rival, Gboyega Oyetola, who polled 254,345 votes. Mr Omisore, who hails from Ife Central local government, polled 128,049 votes to occupy the third place.
The rerun election was declared on Sunday after INEC declared the governorship election inconclusive. INEC said the margin between the two leading parties, PDP and APC (353) is less than the number of cancelled votes (3,498) in the seven polling units.