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Election Rigging and Violence Eclipse Gubernatorial Election

April 13, 2007

As earlier reported by Saharareporters, the preparation for a "free and fair" election as mouthed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was mere grandstanding.

According to our investigators and reporters monitoring elections in Nigeria today, "There is no proper election taking place anywhere in Nigeria"

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From Lagos to Port Harcourt, Maiduguri to Jos and Benin (Edo State), all our field reporters are reporting that elections materials did not arrive until noon to a few places in parts of Nigeria whereas majority of polling stations have neither INEC officials nor materials.

It is sad day for the gubernatorial elections in Nigeria.

Saharareporters can confirm that there is massive rigging going by the People's Democratic Party in Ekiti, Oyo, Osun and Ogun State.

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Lagos: Two people were killed in the Lagos Island area in clashes between "area boys" and security forces.

Port Harcourt: 8 policemen killed by militants.

Akure: Deputy Governor arrested for electoral fraud.

Benin: Widespread voter fraud and diversion of voting materials reported.

Oyo State, Nehru Odeh

Ogbomosho: Thugs believed to be PDP supporters stormed Ogbomosho South Local Government, inflicting machete cuts on voters today. The rampaging thugs destroyed ballot boxes and ballot papers and scared voters away. The areas mostly affected are Ayegun and Akala.

The thugs’ action appeared to enjoy the blessing of soldiers deployed there to ensure peace in the area. Ogbomosho South is the base of both the Action Congress and ANPP deputy governorship candidate.

“The situation is terrible,” says a concerned resident of the area. Ogbomosho is also the base of the PDP governorship candidate, Otunba Adebayo Akala. Observers said he is very unpopular at home.

Shagamu: Reports say a voter was shot in the process of casting his ballot in Shagamu. Details of the incident were sketchy at press time.

Edo: Report from our correspondent, Ernest Omoarelojie, indicates that there was a large turn out of voters in Benin City but as at 10 a.m. accreditation of the voters had not started as INEC officials had not arrived most polling stations with electoral materials.
The officials, however, arrived at about 10.30 and swung into action immediately. P.M.News also gathered that at about 6.45a.m today, the chairman of Uhommwonde Iga Local Government Council Area of Edo State, Mr. Eghosa Ogbemudia, son of Ogbemudia, allegedly snatched INEC’s electoral materials at Ehor area of the council where there were reports of shooting. He is a PDP chieftain.

However, the chief press secretary to the council chairman, Mr. Nosa Adu, denied the allegations and challenged those behind it to substantiate their claims.

Sources said council chairmen had been ordered to deliver their council areas or forget retaining their jobs.

Also, in Edo state, unconfirmed reports say six persons have so far been killed during a violent clash between supporters of candidates.

In another development, the AC governorship candidate in the state, Adams Oshiomhole, has alleged that there are plans by the Peoples Democratic Party to compel INEC to declare PDP winner of the election. He warned that rather than expect him to go to court to challenge that act, he would ask the people to rise up and defend their votes.

Meanwhile, a new INEC State Resident Commissioner, Mallam Abubakar Ahmed assumed office yesterday. No official reason was given for his posting to the state less than 24 hours to the polls, but there are claims that the former one visited PDP chieftain, Chief Tony Anenih, who allegedly told the former resident commissioner to help list PDP members as ad hoc staff of INEC to serve as presiding officer at the polling stations.

Rigging allegedly took place at Ojuelen Primary School, Ekpoma where a man who sat close to the polling clerk directed every voter where to thumb print.

“When saw journalists monitoring the situation around the polling station, he ordered us beaten up. We were saved by a man said to be the party leader in the area,” said our correspondent.

Imo State, Owerri, Blessing Ogunli
In Owerri, the Imo State capital, Blessing Ogunli reports that policemen from the bomb disposal unit this morning combed the state office of INEC in search of explosives.

The team was led by Hassan S. Musa. There is also a large presence of a combined team of military men at the INEC office.

There was a mild drama between the supervisor for Ikenegbu 1, Ben Chikeze over the movement of the electoral materials. While Chikeze wanted to take the materials with is own vehicle, another person insisted that they should be conveyed in the bus he had provided or he will fire him. The material for Azzi 1was was handed to a party agent.

At Aboh Mbaise, Geofrey Dikeocha, Special Adviser to the state government on LGA allegedly hijacked materials meant for the area.

It is Uwgu’s picture that is in the ballot papers and when Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, was asked he said that the ballot papers were the ones printed before INEC replaced his name with that of Engr. Ugwu.

He also said that the ballot papers with his name and picture are being expected from Abuja. However, his name is on the ballot box.

Gov. Achike Udenwa of Imo State in a state broadcast asked the people of the state to vote for the APGA governorship candidate, Martin Agbaso and that PDP did not have any candidate for the governorship election in the state.

Enugu State, Jude Orji
Distribution of electoral materials and as 2p.m. accreditation of voters was yet to start. Election had not started in Enugu.

Michael Mukwuzi; Delta State
Reports from Delta State have it that electoral materials were not enough in some polling booths. There was also the issue of the name of Accord Party candidate not listed on ballot the paper. However, INEC officials had to improvise by manually including it. This caused a bit of delay.

Also, voting materials meant for a riverine area were taken to another area. But after initial lull in Asaba, delay in the voting exercise was overcome and the process has started smoothly.

However, two persons were reportedly killed in Osiokolo, Ethiope East LGA as DPP and PDP thugs clashed in the area. INEC LGA office was also raided in the ensuing battle. Violence was also reported in Obiaruku in Ukwuani LGA. Armed youths prevented INEC officials from distributing election materials and torched the INEC office at Obiar.

Violence equally erupted in Abraka, Ogboru’s hometown as youths attacked the police station.

Adamawa State
Voting started at 8 a.m. Atiku arrived early at the polling booth to cast his vote.

Ogun State, Abeokuta, Clement Oriloye
There was violence and confusion in Abeokuta as some voters protested over the omission of their names by INEC. In Ijebu-Ode, one person was reportedly killed by unknown party thugs riding on a motorcycle.
There were reports about voters being scared away from polling booths by thugs wielding dangerous weapons. Two of them were arrested.

Okada riders and motorists were thoroughly searched. Electoral papers at Oluyole were missing in transit. INEC resident commissioner said there will be by-election there. The general situation is that there is very tight security as soldiers and policemen patrolled the streets.

The on-going election has proven to be a charade at Ward 6, Ife-Ekiti, where mobile policemen stormed with a stalwart of PDP.

They wanted to snatch a ballot box but were resisted. The person who resisted them was shot dead. The policeman’s tag is 459778. The box was taken away in Oye LG by two stalwarts of PDP led by mobile policemen in a car with registration number AP 775 AA. The mobile policemen filled of truck.

They snatched all the boxes available. Tope Alonge, ANPP House of Assembly candidate had his head smashed.

In all the farmsteads in Ado Ekiti, the ballot boxes were stolen by PDP agents. The same charade went on in Ikole and Aiyedun.

In Aiyedun, they faced a massive resistance with a policeman’s walkie-walkie seized. As at 1p.m. today tension was reportedly high in Ado-Ekiti itself.

Ondo State, Paul Adeagbo, Akure
At Atan area in IJebu North East area of Ondo State there were reports that the police and PDP officials carted ballot boxes away.

According to our correspondent, 150 ballot papers were stolen in Orogun Ward 2, by suspected PDP agents in Ikare Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The police officer deployed to the polling booth, Temitope Salako (No: 035304) confirmed that the ballot papers were stolen. In the same Ikare, it was reported that a Road Safety Corp officer Esse Adesanya and Temitope (the policeman) were threatening voters.

At Okungba-Akoko, it was alleged that Barrister Tolulope Oyo sent seven PDP agents to hijack ballot boxes and they were taken to Barrister Dada Ologun Orisa where people were hired to thumb print all the booklets in favour of PDP.

At the time of filing this report, there was confusion as voters were protesting vehemently.

Reports also have it that armed robbers shot at an INEC van conveying electoral materials. However, police escorts in the van fired back at the bandits and killed one of them. The driver of the van said they had left Abuja at 1 a.m. today en route to Lagos when they encountered the robbers.

Osun State, Tokunbo Olajide
Report from our correspondent in Ede has it that PDP supporters have taken over virtually all the polling booths.

At Ward 8 polling booth near Micon Gulf Resort in Ada, Osun State, two AC agents were abducted while PDP agents were just thumb printing all the booklets. It was reported that this was done with the support of INEC officials because only one INEC official was posted to the booth. This female INEC staff and the only police officer there were threatened with machetes by thugs if they tried to stop them.

Also at Ife, one of the 14 polling booths, only two had INEC staff posted there.

The state governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, accompanied by his wife, voted at Oyekunle Primary School in Okuku at about 8.45a.m.

According to Rauf Aregbesola, the AC gubernatorial candidate in the state, “the election cannot be said to be fair so far.”

The people in the state accuse the government of using soldiers to intimidate them and because of that they would rather stay at home that risk their lives at the polling booths.