From the just concluded gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, Nigerians may have seen a glimpse of the drama yet to unfold in the upcoming 2019 general election as the just concluded gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, a litmus test in which it was purported that the electoral umpire INEC woefully failed as the process was marred with massive anomalies ranging from intimidation to bribing of voters, hijacking of ballot boxes, manipulation of election results amongst other electoral irregularities making the election a far cry from being a free and fair one.
Findings by SecretReporters from sources revealed that in most polling stations on the day of election; most electorates were bribed by party agents to sell their votes; apparently a game of who could pay more between the major parties namely the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC). Eye witnesses on ground disclosed to this medium that most electorates were bribed with peasant fees ranging between N3000 to N4000, with party agents checking each electorate’s ballot papers while they hand out the cash. It was also reported that the bribe varied amongst the various unit as in some unit N20000 was handed out as bribe.
While this was going on in some wards, we learnt that in other local government areas, there was a violent outbreak as party agents and thugs disrupted the process by snatching ballot boxes or destroying the ballot papers with ink. National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members assigned to most polling units experienced various forms of intimidation and threats while trying to safeguard electoral materials after being left to the mercy of the security operatives who we learnt were allegedly given direct orders not to interfere with the process.
We also gathered that at Ward 5, Ekiti South West Local Government Area popularly known as Ilawe, and Araromi polling unit 17, Oye Local Government Area, the electoral atmosphere was that of tranquility and serenity till it was time for the results to be collated. SecretReporters learnt that there was manipulations of electoral results as party agents of both APC and PDP were at loggerheads and disagreed with the presiding officer who happened to be a Corp member about some ballot papers they considered favorable to them. To disrupt the process, ink was poured by the party agents into some ballot boxes that couldn’t be snatched rendering the already casted votes null and void.
This however resulted into a tensed atmosphere as party agents began throwing tantrums. During the course of this, a Corp member who was the presiding officer fell off a moving bus while trying to rescue the result sheet after INEC officials tried leaving the polling unit to avoid the fracas.
Similarly in another undisclosed polling station, firsthand information received by officials in the polling unit and passed to this online newspaper indicated huge discrepancies in the results which they collated initially and those published at the collation center as they alleged that voters were settled with N10,000 to N20,000 with the APC emerging winner in the election being the highest spenders amongst other political parties.