Vote Buying, Tight Security Characterise Ondo Governorship Election

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By Chuck’s Okocha and James Sowole in Akure

Voting in Saturday’s Gubernatorial Election in Ondo State was generally peaceful in most parts of the state, but the exercise was characterised by vote-buying.

In most polling units monitored by THISDAY, parties’ representatives, were seen given money to electorate after voting for their candidates.

In some units visited, electorate were seen asking for their money openly after voting.

The presence of security men at polling units, did not deter both the electorate and the parties’ representatives, from selling and buying votes.

In the places visited in the four local governments in Akoko area of the state, which is in Ondo North Senatorial District, electorate defied the early morning rain, trooped out in their thousands to cast their votes.

The situation, was the same in Owo Local Government, where the incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, voted.

But for the two incidents in Akure, the state capital, the exercise was equally peaceful in Ondo Central Senatorial District.

One of the incidents occurred at Unit 4, Ward 4, Ijomu/Obanla, in Akure South Llocal Government, at about 8.40 am.

During the incident, a young man who was identified as Gboyega, was shot and was rushed to the hospital on a motorcycle.

Prospective voters, media men, election observers and INEC officials scampered to safety, as the hoodlums continued shooting for several minutes.

Operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who were nearby Ijomu Junction also ran for cover.

The situation was later brought under control by men of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

An eye witness who gave his name as Tope, claimed that the thugs were members of one of the two main political parties.

In the second incident, police have arrested two persons, in the state capital following the stabbing of an unidentified man.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Investigation, Ondo State, Lanre Bankole, confirmed the incident, which was said to have happened at Ward 004 Unit 002.

Security was generally tight in all parts of the state, as men of the Nigerian Police, NSCDC, Department of State Security (DSS) were seen at polling units. In the places visited, there were four security men in each of the polling units.

Equally, men of the Nigerian Army, mounted check points at strategic places at the entrances of major towns and even in towns.

In compliance with the directive on restriction of movement of vehicles, security men, mainly soldiers prevented vehicles from entering into the states. All vehicles including newspaper distribution vehicles, were stopped at Ajebandele, the border town between Ondo and Ogun States.

The action of the security men stalled circulation of many newspapers in Ondo State except those that were brought in on Friday night.