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Osun Decides 2018: Violence, gunshots, irregularities characterise rerun election
Journalists and observers monitoring the Osun State election are reporting that the rerun elections taking place in seven polling units across four local government areas of the state have so far been characterised by irregularities, violence and police brutality.
Journalists at various polling stations confirmed that reporters and observers were denied access into some voting areas and some who tried to take pictures of the exercise were either arrested or had their equipment confiscated by the police.
Even the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said it was disturbed at the development in Osun, adding that it would take the matter up with the security agencies.
“INEC is disturbed about reports that accredited media and observers are being arrested or prevented from operating in some polling units. This is being taken up with the security agencies,” the commission tweeted.
Reports have it that at some polling units, security agents looked the other way as thugs working for a particular political party had a field day.
“Despite the presence of scores of security personnel at Polling Unit one, Ward eight in Orolu Local Government Area, thugs are in control of the unit,” Premium Times reports.
Kemi Busari, a reporter working with Premium Times, was briefly arrested and detained for daring to take photographs of a polling unit, while thugs confiscated a phone belonging to Taiwo Adebulu, a journalist with TheCable, as policemen watched. Adebulu’s phone was later released to him.
Accredited observers, civil society personnel and journalists were not allowed into some of the polling units. “We got there (to the polling unit) at 6:30 am, they took us to the police station and later brought us to a junction. They said we are not allowed inside the centres,” said Rukayat Ahmodu, an observer for CLEEN foundation.
Osun State Broadcasting Cooperation (OSBC) reporter, Tosin Oladokun , and Kaftan Television crew led by Jude Ochinma were reportedly attacked by suspected hoodlums in Ward 5 Alekuwodo, Osogbo.
Osun chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Acting Chairman, Kehinde Ayantunji, who was at the polling unit at the time of the attack confirmed the incident to a Thisday’s reporter.
Describing the action as regrettable and condemnable, Ayantunji said media must not at any time be the victim of electoral violence.
Also, gunshots rang out at Osogbo ward 5, unit 17, around midday, as police reportedly try to ward off attempts by hoodlums to disrupt the election. Electoral officials, voters ran for their lives.
The PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke, has described the ongoing rerun election as “a coup”. Speaking with journalists on Thursday, Adeleke said: “What is happening in Osun State now is not an election. What we have is a coup. That is what we are witnessing now. Our supporters are being harassed and are not allowed to vote at all. Let the whole world know that this is not the democracy.”
Neither the APC nor its candidate, Adegboyega Oyetola, has made any comments so far with regards to the election, the final result of which is expected to be announced by INEC later on Thursday.
The most blatant thumbs down about the ongoing rerun election in Osun State was given by Daily Trust Newspaper. The paper posted the following tweet using its verified Twitter handle:
“We report to the whole world that in Osun today no supplementary poll took place. It was all violence and undisguised breaching of all electoral rules. The APC is pushing violently to steal people’s mandate freely given by the oppressed people of Osun state.”
On the social media, many have also said that the rerun exercise has not been free and fair. Here are some of the reactions:
A large no of voters on the queue are seen holding a white handkerchief with their cards or tying it round their wrists. It is the sign of a party but I'm trying to find out which party. pic.twitter.com/HMVIP2IuHt
— Mazi Chima Amadi Ph.D (@AMADICHIMA) September 27, 2018
Breaking News: Voters from Orolu LGA in Gbogbo primary school Ward, Unit 009 in Osun State heading back home after they were denied their right to vote…
— Baba Rahman (@bashcare4u) September 27, 2018
At Kajola Ward 8, Unit 1, thugs suspected to be working for one of the political parties seize voter cards of opposition party members. https://t.co/6AOkbxjuNZ #OsunRerun #OsunDecides2018 pic.twitter.com/YtPSlhYGbR
— TheCable (@thecableng) September 27, 2018
I complained when PDP was unleashing terror on Nigerians in the name of election. I was called names.
I am complaining again now that APC is doing same in Osun.
Incidentally, PDP is the victim of that sort of electoral brigandage now.
We must save this democracy.
— Nedu Ekeke #BBOG (@Nedunaija) September 27, 2018