Sheriff Balogun in Abeokuta
Some suspected thugs on Tuesday invaded two polling units in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of Ogun State during a referendum for the proposed Afon Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
During the referendum, the thugs also snatched two ballot boxes meant for the exercise
The crisis started when officials of the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) arrived Ita Baale -Ago -Keesan and Obada polling units to conduct a referendum for the proposed Afon LCDA as stipulated by the state House of Assembly.
During the conduct of the exercise, youths in Afon and Imala who were within the proposed LCDA clashed at the polling units leaving two persons injured when youths who were armed with various dangerous weapons attacked one another.
Meanwhile, three journalists narrowly escaped from the hands of the suspected thugs. The journalists include: Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji of Premium Times, Suleiman Fasasi of Nigerian Pilot and Daud Olatunji of Vanguard.
However, according to the returning officer for Obada-Owode-Idi-Ayun ward, Onsa Aliu-Adio, “we heard that there was an attack in Obada axis and two ballot boxes, ballot papers and other electoral materials were snatched away at gun point.
It was also gathered that the Imala youth were provoked by the action of a member of the state House of Assembly representing Imeko-Afon state constituency, Jemili Akintade, who led some youth from Afon to attack the Imala youth.
Speaking with journalists on behalf of the people of Imala, the Ashipa of Imala, Chief Adetayo Ajayi, condemned the action of the government to hold a referendum for Afon in Imala territory which belongs to Abeokuta North Local Government Area.
Ajayi said Abeokuta North and Imeko-Afon Local Governments Areas have different territories which have been clearly stated.
According to him, the attempt by the people of Afon to hold their referendum in the territory of Abeokuta North is an affront and must be condemned by all.
He said: “ Obada belongs to Imala.They did not indicate where Keesan is situated. What Imala is saying is that it is inconceivable that somebody will move miles away from his territory to another territory and want to hold a referendum, that is why we say no.
In his reaction, a community leader, Jide Ogunesan, said there was nothing new about the move to conduct referendum in those two areas, saying, the exercise had been taken place there since.
He alleged that the violence was orchestrated by people from Imala, who he said snatched the ballot boxes.