The supplementary elections held in some states on Saturday were marred by violence, with four persons killed in Kano and Kebbi states, and pockets of violence and low turnout of voters recorded in other states.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that apart from the killings in the two states, the exercise in Edo, Ekiti, Adamawa, Rivers and Anambra states was xcharacterised by voter apathy, vote-buying and late arrival of election materials.
This was just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission announced the arrest of 12 persons in Kano and Katsina states for alleged involvement in vote-buying.
Three persons were feared killed when thugs invaded the Utai and Achika districts of the Wudil Local Government Area of Kano State to disrupt the election. The thugs allegedly insisted on voting, but the residents resisted them and that resulted in a clash that claimed the lives of the victims.
Sources said three houses, including that of the Chairman of the local government council, were also set ablaze.
It was gathered that the heavily armed thugs were brought to the area to disrupt the election.
When contacted over the incident, the police spokesman in the state, SP Haruna Kiyawa, told one of our correspondents, “I have commenced investigation into the incident and will get back to you for confirmation as soon as I find out more information.”
He, however, had yet to get back as of the time of filing this report.
Thugs also disrupted the polls in the Kwaciri, Kurna Gabas and Zangon Marikita areas of the Fagge and Ungogo local government areas of the state.
In Kebbi State, a yet-to-be-identified man was shot dead by soldiers on patrol at the Bajida Polling Unit 001, Fakai Local Government Area of the state for attempting to snatch a ballot box from officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
It was gathered that the deceased was a member of the proscribed Yansakai local volunteer vigilante group and attempted to snatch a gun from a soldier when he was shot dead.
The Adamawa governorship and state House of Assembly supplementary elections witnessed late arrival of election materials, which affected the early commencement of the polls.
There were also worries about the incidence of cybercrime tainting the polls as some suspects linked to such crimes were arrested.
Though polls opened early for voting in Yola North and Yola South, where 10 polling units and thE INEC headquarters were located, the same could not be said of other polling units outside of the state capital.
The supplementary polls were held in 69 polling units spread across 47 registration areas in 21 local government areas.
A correspondent reported that eight persons were arrested in Bolki over suspicion that they were ICT experts who had been detailed to hack the BVAS.
The Bolki Ward had the highest number of polling units with 13 in total.
The suspects, who are in the custody of the DSS, could not properly identify themselves and claimed that they had been asked to come to the ward as replacement for the ad hoc officials who were to conduct the poll in the ward.
But the residents, whose alarm led to the arrest, argued that the suspects had infiltrated the ward under the pretext of being INEC ad hoc staff members and accused them of having sinister intentions of compromising the BVAS machines.
The suspects, who were later handed over to security agents, denied being part of any sinister plot.
They said they were in the area as INEC ad hoc workers who had been detailed for possible replacement of any ad hoc worker in the event of a shortfall or vacancy.
As of the time of going to press, results of the supplementary poll had not been announced as Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the PDP, and Aishatu Dahiru, popularly known as Binani, of the APC waited anxiously for the announcement of who the next governor is. The APC candidate aims to become the first elected female governor in the country.
There was fair turnout of voters in the supplementary poll held on Saturday to determine the winner of the state House of Assembly election in the Ido/Osi State Constituency 1 in Ekiti State.
Voting started around 8.30am in the three polling units where the election was held, while officers and men of the police, Nigerian Army and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were on ground to prevent repeat of the violence that marred the initial election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof Ayobami Salami, sued for peace among members of the different political parties at the polling units, urging them “to desist from activities that can disrupt the process for the second time.”
The Chairman of Ido/Osi Local Government, Dr Lawrence Ogunsina, who said the election was free, fair and credible, added that Bimodal Voter Accreditation machines functioned properly.
In Katsina State, election materials were allegedly snatched in some wards in the Kankara Local Government during the supplementary election for the state House of Assembly.
The election was also conducted in the Kankia and Kurfi local government areas of the state and witnessed impressive turnout of voters in the three council areas.
Security agents, including troops of the Nigerian Army, were deployed in all the communities where the election took place.
The collation officer for the Peoples Democratic Party in the Kankara Local Government Area, Nuradeen Sani, alleged that hoodlums carted away some election materials in some wards in the council.
According to him, the hoodlums swooped on polling units when voting was about to begin and carted away the items.
Sani said, “Voters were already on the line and the voting process was about to begin when the hoodlums swooped on them and snatched sensitive and non-sensitive election materials. This happened in several wards in the council.
“As far as we are concerned, no election can take place without following appropriate electoral guidelines. So, as far as we are concerned in the PDP, no election took place in the council. We have already prepared a petition on the incident for INEC.”
No INEC official in the state was ready to comment on the incident.
The spokesman for the Katsina State Police Command, CSP Gambo Isah, said he had not been informed of any arrest in connection with the supplementary election.
“I am not aware of any arrest so far in connection with the supplementary election,” he stated.
Voter apathy and intimidation characterised the supplementary elections in Edo State.
There were supplementary elections for the House of Representatives in the Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency and state House of Assembly in Oredo East, Egor and Ovia South West constituencies.
Voters were allegedly threatened to leave some polling units in Benin if they were not going to vote for a particular political party, while only agents of the Peoples Democratic Party were visible in most of the polling units.
A member of the All Progressives Congress, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said those who resisted the hoodlums were slapped and sent away from the polling units.
“The harassment was just too much from the hoodlums. Some people who resisted them were slapped and pushed away from the venue. I had to hurriedly leave the place for my personal safety,” he said.
Another voter, who simply gave his name as John, said, “I wanted to vote for the Labour Party, but some boys were harassing people here, but we are waiting to see what result they are going to announce.”
But Peter Igbinedion, the agent of the PDP in Unit 21, Ward 12, Oredo, in Agbado Primary School said, “Are you seeing any violence or intimidation while you are here? That is the figment of the imagination of those making such allegations. INEC has done well as far as the exercise is concerned and at the end, we believe that the will of the people will prevail.”
Late arrival of materials, vote-buying and massive deployment of thugs by leading political parties trailed the supplementary election in the Ogbaru Federal Constituency of Anambra State.
As of 12.47pm, voting had yet to commence in some polling units in parts of Okpoko, Ogbaru Local Government Area.
Ogbaru is the only constituency in the state where the February 25 general election was inconclusive.
At Okpoko Ward 14, Polling Unit 052, voters were seen sitting idly as of 1.05pm as they waited for officials of INEC to arrive with materials.
In other areas in Okpoko, INEC officials who arrived late without result sheets were chased away by voters.
Also, many voting centres visited by one of our correspondents witnessed the presence of thugs despite the massive deployment of security agents, including the police, naval men and soldiers.
There was serious vote-buying by the leading political parties, who also unleashed thugs in various parts of the local government.
At Manus primary school, Okpoko Ward 6, suspected thugs, said to be working for a particular candidate, swooped on journalists who were commuting in a vehicle with government number plate, suspecting them to be agents of the ruling party, All Progressives Grand Alliance.
Also, at Okpoko Ward 3, polling unit 004, St Luke’s Anglican Church, agents of the PDP and APGA were seen making payments to those who voted for their parties.
The main candidates in the election are Afam Ogene of the Labour Party, Chuchu Onyema of the PDP and Arinze Awogu of APGA.
There was a large turnout of eligible voters in two federal constituencies of Oyo State.
Supplementary elections were conducted in two polling units in Oluyole Federal Constituency and three each in both Ibadan North East and Ibadan South East Local Government areas of the state.
A correspondent who went round to monitor the exercise, observed the heavy presence of security agents comprising the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army, Department of State Service, NSCDC and paramilitary agencies.
The state REC, Adeniran Tella, and his team monitored the affected polling units to ensure that the BVAS machines functioned well.
Supplementary elections were conducted in 419 units in Port Harcourt 2 and Khana/Gokana federal constituencies of Rivers State.
Punch reports low voter turnout despite the early arrival of election materials and personnel.
The PDP candidate for the Port Harcourt 2 Federal Constituency, Blessing Amadi, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the election.
In the Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, there was voter apathy, while election materials were also allegedly hijacked.
The Social Democratic Party candidate, Friday Nkee-ee, expressed disappointment with the conduct of the election, alleging that hoodlums snatched election materials in broad daylight
But the PDP candidate in the area, Dumnamene Dekor, expressed satisfaction, saying the election was peaceful, free and fair.
Voters in Sokoto State expressed anger over the late arrival of electoral materials for the National Assembly supplementary election.
At the JSS polling unit 017 in Shuni, the member representing the Dange/Shuni, Tureta, Bodinga Federal Constituency, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said he was disappointed with the action of INEC.
Kakale said despite the assurance the electoral body gave Nigerians, it had not shown commitment to conduct free, fair and credible supplementary election.
The President of the African Bar Association, Hannibal Uwaifo, knocked INEC over the conduct of the supplementary elections in Sokoto State.
He said INEC spent much time preparing for the polls only to produce nothing at the end of the day.
He said the institution needed to improve upon the conduct of subsequent elections in the state.
Uwaifo said his team saw a lot of ballot box snatching in the state, especially in the Kebbe Local Government Area, with some INEC officials beaten up by political thugs.
He stated, “We all thought that by now the election in the country would have been better than what we are witnessing.
“The BVAS in itself has not improved compared to what was witnessed during the last round of elections.
“It is unfortunate and if we are to rate this election, I will give INEC and security officials 40 per cent.”
Residents of the Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency of Imo State voted in the supplementary election.
While some areas witnessed low turnout of voters, there was massive turnout at Eke Amaehi polling in Eziama and Umuduruoma in Amakaohia in the Ikeduru Local Government Area as well as polling unit 003 in Ogbaku ward and Umuchimawiri in Obazu Mbieri, Mbaitoli Local Government Area.
The candidate of the Labour Party in the election, Uche Ogbuagu, said he was getting information of electoral violence in some polling stations.
EFCC arrests 12
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said it arrested 12 persons for alleged vote-buying in Saturday’s supplementary polls in Kano and Katsina states.
The Kano Zonal Commander, EFCC, Faruk Dogondaji, told the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview that the suspects from the two states were arrested with N1.5m.
According to him, 10 suspects were arrested in the Doguwa Local Government Area of Kano State and two in Kankiya LGA of Katsina State.
Dogondaji said the suspects were arrested while attempting to induce eligible voters with cash in some polling units.
He said that the 10 suspects were apprehended with N1,357,500 in Doguwa LGA of Kano State, while the two suspects were arrested with N242,000 in Kankia LGA of Katsina State.
“We will also be physically present in all the collation centres to prevent change of results,” he said.
Dogondaji said the presence of the personnel of the anti-graft agency in the electoral process would add credibility to the exercise.
The EFCC commander said the suspects would be charged to court after investigation.
APC wins in Ekiti
Meanwhile, INEC on Saturday declared the APC candidate, Abiodun Fawekun, the winner of the Ido/Osi State Constituency 1 supplementary election.
The REC, Prof Ayobami Salami, said Fawekun polled 4,764 votes to defeat other candidates, and as such returned elected.
Salami, in a statement by the Head of Voter Education and Publicity, INEC Ekiti State, Temitope Akanmu, said the SDP candidate, Muyiwa Fadahunsi, polled 4,204 votes to emerge second, while Ayodele Awoniyi of the PDP secured 422 votes.
The REC lauded all stakeholders and people of Ekiti State for the peaceful conduct of this election.
…wins in Oyo
The Returning Officer for Oluyole Federal Constituency supplementary election in Oyo State, Olaniyi Babayemi, announced Tolulope Akande-Sadipe of the APC as the winner of the poll, having scored 14,891 to defeat his major challenger, Mogbonjubola Mojeed, of the PDP, who polled 13, 073 votes.
Akande-Sadipe dedicated her victory to her late mother, Abiose Akande, and the entire people of her constituency.
“Today, I dedicate this victory to God Almighty, my late mother, my husband and my family, who have sacrificed a lot to allow me to do this. I dedicate this to all leaders of the APC, who have stood by me and all members of my constituency,” she stated.
Ogun speaker triumphs
INEC also declared the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, the winner of the Ifo 1 Constituency election.
The returning officer, Prof. Richard Shobayo, said the Speaker polled 7,546 votes to defeat Yusuf Ogundele of the PDP, who garnered 6,596 votes.
The election for the constituency, which was held on March 18, was declared inconclusive due to over voting.
The PDP candidate polled 185 votes during the supplementary poll, while the APC garnered 167 votes.
Oluomo attributed his victory to God and the good people of Ifo, adding that it was a well fought battle.