By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Following the allegations that security men are turning back voters, observers and journalists, as well as supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from polling stations in the ongoing supplementary election in Osun State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will not condone any act of intimidation.
The Chief Press Secretary of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, told THISDAY that the commission is desirous of a free and fair process in Thursday’s supplementary election in which adequate preparations had been made.
However, there were reports that security agents stationed at various polling units to protect observers, electorate and journalists are now protecting political thugs to intimidate voters.
Reports according to accredited journalists monitoring the election revealed that at Ward 8, Unit 1 at Kajola in Ifon Orolu Local Government of the state, the security men told newsmen and observers at the polling unit that they could not guarantee their safety.
But reacting, Oyekanmi said: “Some hours ago, our attention was drawn to a development whereby election observers were either arrested or prevented from carrying out their duties. We intervened and they were released.
“But if it is true, as you have alleged that some voters were prevented from exercising their franchise in particular places, then that will be unfortunate.
“However, we need to be very careful not to designate voters as supporters of a particular political party, since no voter is seen wearing the emblem of any political party at any polling unit so far.
“To be sure, the commission will not condone or encourage any act of intimidation against all eligible voters in the re-run election.”
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the PDP in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, has described the ongoing rerun election in seven units in the state as a ‘coup ‘.
Adeleke had told a newspaper that supporters of the PDP were being denied access to ballot papers in the governorship rerun election.
“What is happening in Osun State now is not an election. What we have is a coup. That is what we are witnessing now.
“Our supporters are being harassed and are not allowed to vote at all. Let the whole world know that this is not the democracy, ” he said.