Is Senate President Bukola Saraki losing his grip in Kwara State which has traditionally been his stronghold?
That is the question on the lips of many as the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC late Saturday night declared Mr Tunji Olawuyi of All Progressive Congress APC as the winner of the bye-election for Irepodu /Isin/Ole Ero/Ekiti Federal Constituency to fill the vacant seat of Late Finke Adedoyin who passed on recently.
The INEC returning officer, Prof Abimbola Adedoji who announced the result said Mr Tunji Olawuyi of the All Progressive Congress APC polled 21,236 votes to defeat its rival Saheed Alatishe of People Democratic Party PDP who polled 18,095
Earlier, there was massive turn out of voters in most polling units in communities in Oke-Ero Local Government Area.
The atmosphere was peaceful as voters conduct themselves orderly while security agents were seen at polling centres and some other strategic areas monitoring security.
Voters who came to polling centres with temporary voter’s cards could not however vote as card readers did not authenticate their cards.
Speaking with journalists after casting his vote at Oro ward II, Onikoyi polling unit, Oro town, minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commended the conduct of the election, saying that he was impressed with massive turn out.
The minister, who expressed the APC to win the election, said that people of the area were mobilized before the poll.
Also speaking at Ajase Ipo ward 1, in front of Olupo palace, the PDP stalwart and commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Demola Banu, who said that the election witnessed impressive turn out of voters, however, said that people complained of malfunctioning of card readers in some areas.
Traditional ruler of Odo-Owa in Ekiti local government area of the state, Oba Joshua Akinyemi Adimula, condemned use of only card reader machine, saying that alternative of manual accreditation ought to be allowed.
He said insistence on the card reader alone denied many people of the right to vote.
Chairman of the local government, Joseph Oni, who voted in his Idofin-Igbana community expressed satisfaction with turn out of voters and the conduct of the election.
Oni, who said that there was no vote buying or any other malpractice in the exercise, explained that replacement of the machines were made by INEC officials where card readers were not functioning properly.
There was however a clash among party supporters in Ekan-meje community but security agents quickly came in to douse tension.
Also speaking, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara State, Alhaji Attahiru Madami, commended voters for their peaceful conduct .
Madami, who spoke to journalists at Osi 07 Unit 0001, S.D.A school , Osi in Ekiti local government area of the state noted that “The electoral process as been so peaceful, perfect and encouraging. In fact, I am highly impressed and it is my hope that Nigerians will emulate Kwara State in future elections.
“Card readers are functioning well and security agents are in full charge. It is my advice that politicians are to accept the outcome of the polls humbly and with the spirit of sportsmanship.”