Politicians tried to outspend one another in the governorship election in Ekiti last Saturday as voters and security operatives were induced.
The Tide source who observed the conduct of the election witnessed different instances of vote buying and inducement of security operatives and some INEC officials across the state.
The election started on a peaceful note across many polling units and voters trooped out en masse.
However, no sooner than accreditation commenced did politicians start reaching out to voters through party agents.
At Polling Unit 002, St Mary Catholic Nur/Pry School, Oye Local Government Area, people commented openly on how political parties were doling out cash to voters.
The three leading parties in the election were said to have been involved in the act.
While one was said to be giving out N10,000 to each voter, the remaining two were allegedly bribing voters with N5,000 each.
Some security operatives were caught on camera running after a politician who gave them money that they shared outside the polling units they were deployed to.
In one of the polling units at Ward 10 Afao/Kajola, Ikere LGA, security personnel and INEC ad hoc staff threatened to stop work, claiming that the money given to them was small compared to what they got from other parties.
At Polling Unit 003, Ward 1, Asin in Ikole LGA, voters marched to a spot behind a GSM mast where money was shared by an agent of one of the three leading parties.
At a polling unit close to the palace of Ogoga Ikere Kingdom in Ikere LGA, a former Deputy Governor of Ekiti, was seen asking a man who carried a backpack filled with money to give some security operatives money.
The security personnel left their duty post at Oisa Alada Hall, Ward 2 Okeruke, PU 009, and ran after the politician.
They got some money, which they shared among themselves.
At unit 009, ward 002, Okeruku, Ikere LGA, women, men and elderly people were seen rushing in and out of a house behind Oisa Alada Hall. They went in with their PVCs and returned after apparently receiving payment for their votes.
Before going inside, a woman wearing black T-shirt collected their PVCs.
When asked, some of the recipients said that they were given seven thousand naira each.
At unit 009, ward 2, Ikere LGA, a man who identified himself as the agent of one of the parties begged security operatives to accept N3,000 each, but they rejected it.
“That is the amount we have been giving other security men,” he pleaded.
After casting his ballot at ward 2 unit 6, Ifaki Ekiti, governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Engr. Segun Oni, said there were irregularities in the election.
“I was just informed that there is vote buying in Ado and Oye Ekiti. This is not allowed by the law of the land. I want the security agencies, especially the EFCC officials, to move to the areas and stop it,” he said.
Sokoto Guber: PDP Loses At Tribunal
The Sokoto Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed the election of Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto as the duly elected governor of the state.
The three-man panel led by Justice Haruna Msheila in its ruling dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate, Saidu Umar challenging the victory of the APC and its candidate, Ahmad Aliyu in the March governorship election.
In a unanimous judgment, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, said the Petitioners were unable to prove the six grounds formulated in the petition.
He said the grounds bordered on alleged ineligibility for Aliyu and Gobir to contest, falsification of certificates, variation of names, election frauds and non-compliance with electoral guidelines.
Msheila said the petitioners were unable to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt as required by law, saying 70 per cent of exhibits were out of context because they relate to State Assembly elections conducted on the same dates.
According to him, to prove forgery two different documents of persons needed to be presented while the variation of names issues was a settled Supreme Court provision.
He said three subpoena witnesses were not tenable as they were not makers of the documents from the alleged primary school while the other 28 polling units agents testified could not identify themselves along with their roles.
The Tribunal Chairman said the alleged 138 polling units frauds were not adduced to indicate substantial non-compliance of the elections marred the election outcome.
Mshelia added that the tribunal dismissed all the preliminary objections on competency to institute the case by the respondents as the petitioners duly linked the grounds in the petition.
He dismissed the petition for lack of merit and failure to prove the allegations by the petitioner.
Tribunal Upholds Kefas’ Election As Taraba Governor
The Taraba State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Jalingo, yesterday, upheld the election of Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party,(PDP) as the governor of the state.
The three-man panel headed by Justice G.A Sunmonu dismissed the petition jointly filed by the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, and its governorship candidate in the March 18, 2023 election, Professor Yahaya Sani, on the grounds of lack of sufficient evidence.
NNPP, and its gubernatorial candidate, had earlier filed a petition before the tribunal seeking the cancellation of the election which they alleged was characterised by irregularities.
Another relief sought by the NNPP and its guber candidate was for the tribunal to order a fresh election in the state.
The party also alleged non-compliance with the electoral Act 2022, as a major reason for its demand for the cancellation of the election.
The party, which also alleged that the incumbent governor of the state was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast, earlier urged the tribunal to nullify the certificate of return issued to the governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Delivering judgment, the panel unanimously ruled that the petition filed by both NNPP and its gubernatorial candidate lacked merit.
The three-man panel, collectively dismissed the petition, stating that the petitioners failed to justify the relief they sought.
Elated by the judgment, the Deputy Governor, Aminu Alkali, called on the NNPP and other opposition political parties in the state to join hands with the incumbent governor to move the state forward.
Also overwhelmed by the judgment, the counsels to the PDP, applauded the panel for the judgment.
Though the counsel of the NNPP could not be reached at the time of filing this report, a chieftain of the party who spoke with The Tide source, said he was hopeful that the party will appeal the judgment.
Nigeria@63: Lawmaker Urges Patience, Says Tinubu Won’t Disappoint Nigerians
The lawmaker representing Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jimi Odimayo has called on Nigerians to exercise patience with the administration of President Bola Tinubu, assuring that salvation was near.
Odimayo who gave this assurance in a statement issued through his Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Kayode Fasua, noted the apparent hardship in the land, and drew a comparison in the allegory of labour-room pains and the subsequent joy in strapping a newborn baby.
Odimayo said “We all must reflect on how we got to this sorry pass as a nation, counting from the year of our independence in 1960 till date: how democracy was aborted for many years through military interventions and how we are again back on track trying to improve on our democratic skills.
“However, in spite of various hiccups ranging from maladministration to corruption and other unpatriotic practices, we should renew hope, especially now that a good leader with verifiable antecedent in the person of President Bola Tinubu is in the driver’s seat.
“Ours can be assessed in the allegory of labour room pains that must be experienced during childbearing, before the mother beams with smiles at successful delivery; and that is what obtains now in the attempt by President Tinubu to right many wrongs and put Nigeria on the path to political and socio-economic greatness,”
While urging Nigerians to exercise patience and team up with all arms of government to achieve desired results, the lawmaker also called on political officeholders to tighten their belts and bend to work as justification to the electorate’s mandate.
According to him, the ballot box is the nemesis for all political leaders who failed in their vow to deliver the dividends of democracy.
“The last general elections held up many lessons for the political class, that unlike in the past, the level of voters’ awareness has risen stunningly in geometric proportions, as the people are mostly no longer for vote-buying and rigging, but are determined to scrutinise the qualities of candidates seeking their votes,” he stressed.
Odimayo similarly assured the people of his Okitipupa/Irele constituency and the entire Ondo State citizenry that he had designed various empowerment programmes and had stepped up various social infrastructural development lobbies, all of which will start manifesting soon.
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