•Political thugs brandishing cutlasses, sticks molest residents
There was violence in Ayede/Ogbese in Akure North Local Government Area as the local government election got underway on Saturday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that miscreants suspected to be political thugs and brandishing cutlasses and wooden sticks were sighted molesting residents.
Speaking with NAN, Chief Oladimeji Abidogun, a community leader, said that the violence was a result of the show of strength between rival parties. “It is a test of strength between two political parties, APC and SDP, on the ballot for the councillorship slot in the local council.
“The APC loyalists in the community are alleging that about 15 unknown individuals with ribbons tied round their necks, who are suspected to be cultists, snatched ballot boxes in some polling centres,” he said Abidogun, the Editor-in- Chief of Sharpedge News, said that the community would not accept the outcome of the poll as it was marred by violence.
“The position of the community leaders is that whoever that is emerging in this contest cannot serve the community as we don’t want anybody to benefit from fraud and violence. “We need to use this as a litmus test for discouraging electoral violence. Everybody is on edge and mobilising.
The community must be defended. “This is a small community and everybody is coming out, house to house, door to door to defend the community,” he stated.
Commenting on the seeming reluctance of the police to intervene in the matter, the community leader explained that it could be out of caution, considering the volatile situation.
“If they act, they will be accused of being trigger-happy and it can also lead to complete breakdown of law and order as well as semblance of anarchy. “They tried to protect the ballot boxes and people are saying they must also protect lives and property,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has decried the conduct of the council poll, saying the exercise was marred by impunity, brigandage and violence. The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Mr Kennedy Peretei, made the allegation in a statement released in Akure.
Peretei claimed that reports from the PDP Situation Room across the 18 local government areas of the state had proved that the party took a wise decision in boycotting the election.
“About 24 hours before the polls, some thugs had unleashed violence on opposition parties in Ondo town, Idanre and Owo that attempted to participate in the elections.
“In thousands of polling units, neither voting materials nor ODIEC personnel were seen at about noon on election day. Where they were seen, ballot papers were in short supply,” he alleged.