APC’s Oyebanji in early lead –

APC’s Oyebanji in early lead – The Sun Nigeria

From Oluseye Ojo, Priscilla Ediare, Lateef Dada, Ado-Ekiti and Okwe Obi, Abuja

The 2022 triangular governorship race in Ekiti State to succeed Governor Kayode Fayemi was keenly contested mainly among the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The results that have been obtained as at 7:30p.m on Saturday showed that the APC candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, was in early lead, while the SDP candidate, Segun Oni, was closely following behind.

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The PDP candidate, Bisi Kolawole is in far distant third position. But the entire results would determine the winner of the poll, which should be announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today.

But a report of ballot box snatching was received from Yiaga Africa in two polling units with codes 13/05/06/005 and 007 in Ilawe Ward IV, near St. Patrick’s School.

In some of the polling units visited by our reporters, supporters of APC and SDP were noticeable, while PDP supporters were minor.

It was observed that the supporters of the two leading parties cut across the state, while the PDP was leading majorly in Efon Local Government, where its candidate hails from.

Figures obtained in some of the polling units showed that APC was in early lead while SDP maintained a close contest. In Iworoko ward 9, unit 6, APC led with 102 votes with SDP having 95 votes. The PDP followed with 35 votes. In Ogbonuro/Ori-Olode, Ifaki-Ekiti, unit 8, the SDP won with 218 votes, while his closest contender, APC, got 15 votes. The candidate of PDP got 02 votes.

It was observed that APC is prominent in Ado-Ekiti, with SDP contesting closely and leading in some local . The governorship candidate of the PDP polled 98 to defeat his counterpart from APC, who got 13 votes and the SDP who scored 02 votes in his polling unit.

In unit 3, Ikogosi, Ekiti West, where the candidate of APC voted, APC scored 296 votes, while PDP got 01 and SDP got no vote. Also, in Ado-Ekiti ward 12, APC got 1,534, SDP scores 409 and PDP had 178. In Otun-Ekiti unit 01, results obtained showed APC leading with 148 against SDP and PDP following with 130 and 33 votes respectively.

Results obtained from Oye-Ekiti, Atatiba-Aafin, showed APC winning with 78 votes, while SDP polled 36 and PDP got 25 votes. In Ijero Igbooloko/Odo-Ese, APC had 130 votes, SDP got 21, while PDP scored 20 votes.

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The results in Apaso unit, Ijero-Ekiti, showed APC leading with 110 votes, while SDP got 66 and PDP had 27 votes. In Ijero, Oke-Iroko, APC led with 74 votes, SDP had 33 votes and PDP got 31 votes.

…Large turnout, heavy security, vote buying, peaceful conduct greet poll

Large turnout of eligible voters, scientific financial inducement of electorate, heavy security presence, peaceful conduct, and partial malfunctioning of BVAS greeted the conduct of the 2022 governorship poll that was held yesterday in Ekiti State.

As early as 7:30 a.m, many electorate were sighted at different polling units in Ado-Ekiti, even before the arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It was gathered that as at 8:30a.m, about 70 per cent of INEC officials were already at the various polling units, while about 90 per cent were at their duty posts by 9:00a.m. People, both young and old, trooped out in their large numbers to exercise their franchise.

The exercise began seamlessly in many of the polling units, while a number of them experienced partial hitches due to the malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines deployed by the INEC for authentication of voters. But the issues were promptly resolved by technical personnel of INEC.

However, vote-buying was observed in many places. In some places, some politicians purportedly distributed N10,000, while it was N4,000 or N5,000 in other places. But it was reported that some voters out-rightly rejected financial inducement from politicians, which led to a minor rumpus, which was promptly brought under control by security agents.

It was observed at Okesa Roundabout in Ado-Ekiti, as well as Ifaki-Ekiti and Iyin-Ekiti that some metres away from the polling units, agents of a political party were stationed secretly there and monitoring voters.

As gathered, the voters that cast their votes for them would stylishly display the ballot papers before dropping them into the ballot boxes, and thereafter, they would go and collect the inducement.

One of the voters told Sunday Sun: “In 2018 when we held governorship election in this state, it was ‘E dibo, e se’be’ (Vote and get money to prepare soup), while this year 2022, it is ‘E dibo, ki e san school fees’ (Vote and pay school fees). Don’t ask me if I collect the money or not. It is none of your business.”

A young man that looked like somebody under the influence of hard drink, was sighted at Iyin-Ekiti when he cast his vote. He staggered and raised up the ballot paper, saying: “I have voted o.” Later, he was sighted some metres away from the polling units, talking to some people. He said: “I have voted for you people. Where is my money?

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A fight broke out in Iworoko-Ekiti, Irepodun-Ifelodun Local Government, when some agents of the political parties in the town disagreed over vote-buying.

A councillor in the town was accused of giving the electorate N10,000 each, having shown their ballot papers to ascertain that they voted for his party.

Efforts to speak with the alleged councillor proved abortive as he walked away.

The agent of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Bukunmilade Oluwafemi, said that some voters are showing their ballot papers to the people to go and collect money after voting.

Also, the agent of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Yusuf Kehinde, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of buying votes in the unit.

He said, “voters are showing their ballot papers to them and that is what we are saying it shouldn’t be. The APC members are buying votes here.

But, the agent of the APC, Fatayo Muideen, described the allegation as a lie, saying there was no problem in the unit and that everything went well.

Also, the agent of PDP, Fapohunda Matthew, said that he was not aware of vote-buying.

The governorship candidate of SDP, Segun Oni, said that he received calls that vote-buying took place in some areas in the state.

He particularly mentioned Ado-Ekiti and Oye-Ekiti as the major towns, where the vote-buying allegedly took place.

“There is no problem in my area where I voted. The security and officials of INEC are doing well.”

On the allegation that he has withdrawn from the race, he said the peddlers of fake news are jittery because they know his strength.

Acting Deputy Commandant-General in charge of operations of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Haruna Mohammed, who led 9,749 personnel of the security agency to Ekiti, said that the process went smoothly and the turnout of voters was very impressive.

An observer with YIAGA Africa, Ezenwa Nwangwu, said that it was observed that vote-buying was witnessed in a number of polling units that his team visited.

He added that financial inducement of electorate has gone scientific, saying that the country needs to do more on vote-buying because one would not notice any sign of such, going to the polling units.

He said that it would take more than ordinary interest to discover it.

Commenting on the alleged vote-buying, he said that people should have called the attention of the security agents at each polling unit to the alleged financial inducement, and they would have acted promptly on the information.

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He admitted that the 2022 governorship poll in Ekiti State was an improvement on the previous polls, especially being the first to be conducted under the new Electoral Act.

But there was heavy security presence across the state. Two helicopters of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) were also sighted moving round the state. The security personnel included the military and paramilitary organisations.

A section of Ado-Iyin dual carriageway in front of INEC office, was completely barricaded by security agents to ensure adequate security for the venue, where results of the poll will be officially announced by the chief returning officer.

But no report of violence or hijacking of ballot boxes was received from any part of the state at the time of filing this report.

…CDD says poll marred by vote buying, fake news

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has given its verdict on the Ekiti State governorship election held yesterday.

Its Chair, Election Analysis Centre(EAC), Prof Adele Jinadu, at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, noted that the exercise was marred by vote buying and fake news, adding that some voters cast their ballot without being authenticated by the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

Jinadu said: “CDD-EAC Fake News Hub tracked and fact-checked a number of fake news and misinformation trending on Election Day.

“A major trending item was the purported withdrawal letter of the SDP candidate Segun Oni, and his endorsement of the PDP candidate, which circulated across social media. This claim was subsequently confirmed to be ‘false’.

“CDD-EAC observers reported a worrisome situation in which some voters were allowed to cast their ballot without being authenticated by the BVAS.

“CDD-EAC observers also documented instances where young voters openly displayed the cash given to them to buy their votes.

“These anomalies confirm CDD-EAC observation in the pre-election period that the ongoing strike by universities has grounded the local economy.

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“The situation has in turn influenced a number of young voters to perceive the election as an opportunity to solve their economic challenges by accepting inducement from political actors.”

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