The story of Ogun State in the run up to the 2019 general elections gave an indication that nobody could accurately predict who could win what position in the State especially the position of the Governor of the State.
Meanwhile, according to Daily Trust, the February 11, 2019 fracas that marred President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign and public endorsement of Ogun State governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun, raised the fear of possible violent governorship and state House of Assembly election in the state. Daily Trust Saturday, however, reports how the March 9 elections went almost violence-free, with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, former House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankola, outgoing governor and Senator-elect Ibikunle Amosun and two ex-governors, Olusegun Osoba and Gbenga Daniels among others won and lost the election in the state.
Contrary to fear of threats of violence and tension which heralded the conduct of the governorship and House of Assembly polls in Ogun State, the election was largely peaceful across the state.
Our correspondents, who monitored the election, reported that the polls witnessed large turnout compared to the Presidential and National Assembly election held on February 23.
However, the election was marred in many areas by alleged incidences of votes buying. In Abeokuta, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested a candidate of the Allied People’s Movement “(APC)” sic [APM] for the Abeokuta South State Constituency 1, Sotayo Johnson, for alleged vote buying.
Sotayo was arrested in Ward 7, Ijaye area of Abeokuta with a polythene bag filled with one thousand naira notes. It was gathered that the House of Assembly candidate, stormed the ward with cash to induce voters to vote for APM.
Operatives of the anti-graft agency and military personnel were sighted parading Abeokuta metropolis, probably in search of those who run afoul of the law.
The suspect was whisked away by the EFCC to an undisclosed destination for interrogation.
When contacted by Daily Trust Saturday, the EFCC Spokesman in Ibadan Zonal Office, Jide Jegede, said he could not speak on the matter, directing our correspondent to contact Abuja head office for details.
Also, the governorship candidate of the YES Party, Shina Kawonise alleged that the election was marred by ‘massive votes buying’ by the major political parties which participated in the polls.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after casting his votes at his polling unit in Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu North Local Government Area, Kawonise regretted that despite the campaign against votes buying, it reared its ugly head during the election in the state.
“Where I voted here at my polling unit and adjoining polling units, the election was peaceful and orderly. Voting went on very well. But vote buying was quite massive and extensive. People voted, show who they voted for, and then go to a corner to collect money in full view of the security agents.
“Of course not everybody voted to collect money. There were sizeable number of people who still voted without collecting money. That’s in the polling unit where I voted. And from the feedback I got from our agents across the state, it is the same experience, votes buying by major political parties,” he said.
But, the Director General of the APC Gubernatorial Campaign Organization, Segun Adesegun, described the allegation as untrue.
According to him, APC doesn’t need to buy votes because “it has natural acceptance of the people across the state.”
However, former President Olusegun Obasanjo arrived at his Unit 22, Ward 11, Olusomi compound, Sokori Area, in Owu, Abeokuta at exactly 9:54am and voted few minutes afterwards, but snubbed newsmen who approached him for comments. Obasanjo however responded to volleys of hailing and praise-singing by the people of the community, especially the youths, who came to catch a glimpse of the former president.
On his part, Governor Ibikunle Amosun arrived Unit 8, Ward 6, located at Itagbangba Itoko Oke-Aleji at exactly 10:55 am and waited on the queue till 11:22am to cast his vote.
Amosun, in company of his wife Olufunsho, was impressed with the peaceful conduct of the election and the conduct of election officials. He called for the reduction of the number of registered political parties in the country to a maximum of six representing the geo-political zones for national elections.
“We are happy that everything is going well and peaceful. We hope it would be like that throughout the period of sorting and counting of votes, and announcement of results,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ogun State expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state.
The Head of Department (HoD) Voter Education and Publicity Department (VES), Mrs. Adenike Tadese, told Daily Trust Saturday that the elections were peaceful without any record of violence.
According to her, election officials are collating the results and were waiting at the state office to receive the results. “The process was peaceful. We did not record any incident of violence. Everywhere is calm and we are waiting for the collation officers to send in the results,” she said.
While announcing the outcome of the elections, INEC declared the APC candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun, as the winner of the election.
INEC’s Returning Officer, Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka, who announced the final result at INEC office Abeokuta, said Abiodun polled 241,670 votes to defeat his closest-rival and candidate of the APM, Adekunle Akinlade who had 222,153 votes. Olayinka puts the margin between the winner and the runner up at 19,517.
Also, according to him, Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) polled 110,422 votes; Buruji Kashamu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had 70,290 votes, while Dimeji Bankole of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) scored 9,666 votes.
The results declared showed that out of the 2,375,003 voters registered, only 708,807 were accredited during the election, while the total valid votes was put at 680,947.
Daily Trust Saturday also reports that a total of 20,969 votes were rejected during the election, while 7,100 votes were cancelled in some polling units across the state.
However, APM and its gubernatorial candidate, Adekunle Akinlade rejected the results as announced by the INEC, citing alleged manipulation of the process.
The APM Campaign Director General, Sarafa Ishola, who spoke alongside Akinlade at the party’s secretariat in Abeokuta, alleged that the gubernatorial election which began peacefully on Saturday was hijacked by hoodlums and ‘unidentified uniform men’ during the collation stage, and further manipulated the results in favour of APC. Akinlade, said the people of Ogun State have been raped, and urged them to maintain peace while the leadership of APM explores all legal means to undo the alleged injustice.
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