Home » Elections 2011, NNP Elections 2011 Updates, Oyo, State News » Election Day Of Ballot, Tanks, Despair in Ibadan

Election Day Of Ballot, Tanks, Despair in Ibadan

Ibadan, the hotbed of South West politics was alive on Saturday as its residents turned out in large number to elect those who would represent them at the National Assembly for another four years.


In this report, Olaolu Oladipo who was in the former capital of the Old Western Region captures the mood of voters, the anti-climax of the cancellation and postponement as well as the presence of armed personnel stationed to prevent a breakdown of law and order.


The people of the sprawling city of Ibadan, the erstwhile capital of the defunct Western Region woke up with lots of enthusiasm to cast their ballots in the scheduled National Assembly election slated for the day by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

For the horde of voters that besieged the various units scattered across the 11 local governments making up the city, the occasion provided an opportunity to elect their leaders in a free, fair and credible manner. Owing to assurances that have been given by the electoral umpire, people- young and old- believed that it was a unique opportunity to elect their leaders.

A day earlier, the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru  Jega had assured Nigerians that all was well for the smooth conduct of the polls across the country. Also the Federal Government had deployed soldiers to man strategic flash points in the city to forestall a breakdown of law and order.

Government’s decision might not be farfetched owing to the fact that Oyo had become a flashpoint of sorts in the run up to the aborted polls. The state had attracted the headlines for the wrong reasons due to never ending politically motivated violent clashes in the state.

A proactive measure was put in place to station personnel and tanks in strategic locations in the state such as Ring Road, Molete, Challenge and others.

The people turned out in large numbers to vote in spite of visible heavy presence of military personnel who prowled major roads in the city, in search of trouble makers that might seek to cause a breach of peace. The first inkling of a process that was doomed for failure came as accreditation of voters could not commence on time.

A detachment of soldiers were seen combing some places along popular and busy Ring Road for potential trouble makers, who were later apprehended and whisked before any further damage could be wrecked on the process and the people.

In virtually all the units, would-be voters stayed for several hours in the scorching sun, awaiting arrival of INEC staff deployed to carry out the task of conducting the exercise. In Ibadan South West, Akinyele and Lagelu local government where our Correspondent visited, the exercise got up to a fine start, save for pockets of skirmishes or physical clashes between supporters of different political parties largely on the mode for voter accreditation.

At unit 11 in Ward 10 in Ibadan South West local government, accreditation commenced at exactly 9: 58am (almost 2 hours behind schedule), while in unit 12, the process of accrediting voters did not start until 10:30 am. Prior to the commencement of voting process, our Correspondent had seen many INEC ad hoc staff in the premises of Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, taking delivery of voting materials.

Voters in the two units got a rude shock when news filtered in that the entire exercise had been put on hold and rescheduled for Monday. The first indicator that the process was coming to a deadlock emerged when news came that the commission had put the election into Akinyele/Lagelu Constituency on hold, owing to the delay of the availability of voting materials.

Elsewhere in the state, Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala was said to have cast his ballot at about 12:45pm in his native town of Ogbomosho along with his wife, while his deputy, Alhaji Taofeek Arapaja voted in Ibadan.

By 1:35pm, announcement came that the entire exercise be put on hold; thus bringing with it utter disappointment as voters left the various units frustrated and unhappy. It will be difficult to return to vote again as their morale has been dampened. Apart from the voters, the situation threw the political elite off balance; parties hurriedly convened a series of meetings to discuss the latest issue in their respective secretariats. When some of them were through, those who spoke had harsh words for the leadership of the commission.

Though the leadership of the PDP was said to be meeting on the issue, when our Correspondent sought the views of the party on the issue, its Director, Media and Strategy, Mr. Morountolu Thomas blamed INEC for the situation.

To the Oyo State PDP, the postponement is symptomatic of lack of capacity on the part of INEC to conduct a peaceful poll in spite of the goodwill and resources that have been made available to it by the Federal Government.

“It (the postponement) has clearly shown that Professor Jega lacks the wherewithal to conduct credible polls as the INEC chairman. As someone who should have done his homework well, he should have known that the problems of logistic that he stated as the reason for the postponement existed 24 hours before the commencement of the election”, Thomas said.

The party faulted the INEC boss for going ahead with the postponement, taking into cognisance the fact that the process of voting had actually begun, saying “In fact, the Governor had voted in his hometown of Ogbomosho when the announcement came.”

Faulting the move, he raised some posers: “What will he now do to the political parties who had spent a lot of money to organise their supporters and the money spent for campaign? Will he refund the money spent? Or how does he want us to believe that the same mistake would not be repeated on Monday?”

On the part of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the decision is an unfitting climax of the great expectations Nigerians has of the commission to conduct credible polls.

Speaking through its State Secretary, Mr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, the party said, “This (the announcement) came to us as rude shock. We are surprised that this is happening now, considering the amount of time and resources we had put in place to mobilise our members. “

“It is unfortunate when you consider the promises made by (Prof. Attahiru) Jega made to Nigeria that he will conduct free, fair and credible election. You know we are not in government for us to use state resources to prosecute election.”

Appraising the conduct of the polls the following day, the two dominant parties ACN and PDP traded words regarding schemes being perpetrated by either side to seek victory through extra-legal means.

First to raise the dust was the ACN who restated its call for the redeployment of the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Ayo Adakeja for hob nobbing with the state government officials and the leadership of the PDP. Former governor, Lam Adesina, who spoke on behalf of the state said a petition had already been forwarded to the commission’s chairman

At a press conference hurriedly put together by the ACN leadership. Adesina premised its call for the REC’s redeployment on alleged partisan disposition of the INEC boss towards the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

The allegation was countered by Thomas who claimed that such unholy alliance does not exist between INEC and his party,  to underscore its reservations on the issue, members of the ACN had initially slated a protest rally to the state INEC office but had to shelve the idea later by opting to address the media on the issue.

Adesina said Adakeja has lost the confidence of its party’s membership to conduct elections in the state over allegations of partisanship towards the PDP, saying the two are working to subvert the electoral process.

Flanked by the governorship candidate of the party in the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, his former deputy, Barrister Iyiola Oladokun and the senatorial candidate for Oyo South district, Mr. Femi Lanlehin, the former governor listed series of allegations bordering on unholy connivance between INEC, Oyo PDP and the state government.

“The ACN in Oyo State is disappointed with the activities of the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner and we have written to formally report him to the National Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega who has assured that he will look at the petition.” Adesina said.

According to the party, the state office of INEC connived with the PDP to substitute the members of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for card carrying members of the ruling party whom it (ACN) claimed functioned illegally as polling officials during the botched Saturday polls.

Adesina listed reasons why INEC under Adakeja would not perform to include non-arrival of INEC officials in various polling booths in the state, falsified voter register and alleged arrest of fake policemen by law enforcement officers.

Countering the claims, Thomas maintained that the ACN has been guilty of intimidating voters in the state, using thugs from other states.

“INEC REC is not working for us at all. The way yesterday’s (Saturday’s) election was conducted, it would be difficult for anybody to be tele-guiding INEC REC, the way they are suggesting”, he said, stating that “if the election had been concluded, we would have coasted home to victory.”

He accused some leaders of the ACN of perpetrating violence via importation of thugs from neighbouring states in Oyo, just as he claimed an unnamed ACN candidate was seen moving around with some fake officers during the polls.

According to him, the PDP is relying on the credentials of both President Goodluck Jonathan and the state governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala to win the polls and not “extra-legal means.”


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Posted by on Apr 9 2011. Filed under Elections 2011, NNP Elections 2011 Updates, Oyo, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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