Biodun Oyebanji, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been declared winner of the June 17 governorship election in Ekiti State, but the process was reportedly marred by violence and vote buying.
Oyebanji of the APC polled 187,057 votes to edge Segun Oni, Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate who polled 82,211 and Bisi Kolawole, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate who polled 67,457.
However, multiple voters have alleged that the APC and the PDP offered money in exchange for votes. A candidate also accused the three frontline parties of buying votes.
The governorship election in Ekiti was not devoid of violence. An unnamed voter said thugs physically assaulted him and his mother at a polling unit for challenging vote buying in Ward 1, Idofin, Odo Ado.
“I saw an SDP party agent. The thugs had attacked him and broken his phone,” the voter told The PUNCH. “They asked me if I came to take photographs of them and one of them locked my shirt.
“My mother came around and asked them to leave me alone. It was at that point one of them slapped my mum.”
The voter fought back but was mobbed by numerous thugs. He claimed that the area was controlled by an APC chairman. “They planned to vote their party only. Those thugs threatened me and I felt disenfranchised.”
VOTES FOR PURCHASE
Kemi Elebute-Halle, candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), has accused the trio of the APC, PDP, and SDP of paying voters to vote for their candidates in the Ekiti governorship election.
Elebute-Halle told The Cable that these parties gave tens of thousands of naira to voters at Unit 8, Ward 10, Ikole Local Government Area.
“At my polling unit, the APC gave N10,000. PDP gave N5,000, while SDP gave N3,000 as vote inducements,” Elebute-Halle said before the election result was released.
‘IT IS NO OTHER PARTY THAN THE RULING APC’
Afolabi Martins, former youth leader in Oye community, alleged that it was the APC agents that engaged in vote buying at his polling area.
Martins offered an interview to the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR). He named the ruling political party as the culprit in his polling area.
“It got to the extent that they asked voters to show their ballot papers before casting their votes. They are even sending the money to some people online. It is no other party than the APC. I can say it boldly; it is happening everywhere,” he said.
More footage showed some agents sharing cash at polling areas.
SERAP’S THREAT TO SUE
The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP), a non-governmental organisation, has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seven days to address vote buying and other electoral offences reported in the Ekiti election.
SERAP revealed it sent a letter to ask INEC to prosecute the vote buyers or face legal action in a statement on Sunday.
There are reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested some party agents for vote buying on Saturday. INEC is yet to respond to the reports of vote buying or arrests made.
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