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One killed as Ekiti conducts LG poll

…Low turnout greets poll

…PDP rejects poll, may go to court

Priscilla Ofunre, Ado-Ekiti

One unidentified person was allegedly killed on Saturday by suspected political thugs at Ikere-Ekiti, while four others sustained injuries during the local government election conducted in Ekiti State.

The Local government election, which was greeted by low turnout of voters, was peaceful before the event turned bloody in the town.

An eyewitness confirmed to journalists that the gun wielding thugs invaded a polling unit at Okitiko in Araromi area of Ikere-Ekiti and shot sporadically thereby disrupting the poll in the unit.

“Apart from the man that was shot, about four people were wounded and the SIEC officials had to take to their heels. The boys came to snatch ballot boxes and when they were resisted, they started shooting, one person was killed in the process “.

He said four others who sustained injuries have been taken to the hospital for intensive medicare.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Mr. Sunday Abutu, said he has not been briefed as of the time of filing this report.

During the election, however, the commercial motorcyclists popularly called ‘okada riders’ were seen plying major roads in Ado metropolis, while traders opened their shops to make money despite the restriction order announced by the police between 8am and 2 pm.

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The election, which was to elect the 16 local government chairmen and 177 councilors, was peaceful and devoid of violence in most part of the state.

To avert disruption of the election by party thugs, the Police Commissioner, Mr. Asuquo Amba, deployed his men to all the 2,195 polling units across the state.

The Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye, who voted at St John’s Primary School in Ikere-Ekiti declared support for e-voting electoral system, saying he was ready to support any action that will improve the country’s electioneering.

Afuye described the local government election as peaceful and devoid of actions that could truncate free and fair outcome.

“Though the turnout was a little bit low, but it was peaceful. The reason could not have been unconnected with the impression by the Peoples Democratic Party that the All Progressives Congress will win all the seats, but Governor Kayode Fayemi believes in democracy and allows free and fair process.

 “Unlike in the past when local government elections were like wars, this one is free and fair, we don’t believe in violence. If you have something to showcase, you have no reason to be violent. No incidence of intimidation. Both the PDP and APC are mobilising for this election”, he said.

The APC State Chairman, Mr. Paul Omotoso, who voted in Imesi-Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government, commended the peaceful nature of the poll, praising Fayemi for setting a pace on how best to conduct a credible poll.

The Information Commissioner, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua, who voted at Community Pilot School, polling unit 006, Oke Osun ward in Ikere, praised the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) for the smooth conduct of the election.

While voting at Ward 2, unit 008, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Development Partnership, Mrs Margaret Fagboyo, hinged the low turnout as a confirmation that the PDP has been weakened in the state.

 The Commissioner added: “The low turnout was a clear testimony that the opposition is very weak and about the impression that the ruling party will win. Governor Fayemi wants democracy to prevail and on that we stand”.

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Reacting to the outcome of the election, the PDP chairman in Ekiti, Barr. Gboyega Oguntuase said: “From what we heard all over, the election is riddled with violence, obviously as expected in an APC state. It is not fair, as I speak with you, it is believed that they have shot one person dead as one or two persons received gun shots. 

“In Ikole Local Government, the number of boxes that were to go to Ijesa Isu, Odo Oro, ward 4 in Ikole, all of them were reduced. Where were the boxes? Nobody could account for them. That is a clear case of ballot stuffing. In Ise Orun, very early in the morning, they unleashed terror on PDP people, seized all the ballot boxes from the units. The same thing applies to Emure and Ekiti East”.

On whether the PDP will reject the outcome, “Can any reasonable person accept the result of an election that is riddled with violence and fraud? It is clear. We won’t accept it”.

On whether the PDP will go to court, Oguntuase said consultations will be made with the leaders to know the next line of action.

“We warned them earlier. We told them that we might not have a free and fair election with the calibre of people they put at SIEC and with the nature of APC. See what they did in Kogi and Bayelsa for instance. They cannot tolerate true democracy”.