The Local Government elections conducted by the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) was on Saturday marred by "salient apathy" across all eighteen council areas of the State.
The council election recorded a low turnout of voters as many in the State stayed indoors in a deliberate action to protest the "mere selection" exercise and contest within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of the State, according to voters speaking with SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters observed that the election, scheduled to commence at 8 am according to the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC), started 10:15 am in many of the 203 wards of the State.
Many wards and polling booths received their election materials late, particularly in the northern and southern locals, which delayed the tabulation of votes.
Many security agents were seen monitoring the exercise with ammunitions while shops and business were shut down throughout the duration of the exercise across the eighteen local council areas of the State.
Our correspondents who monitored the conduct of the exercise reported that many voters, most especially civil servants, that made up dozens of electorates in the State apparently shunned the polling centers and refused to vote.
"Why should we come out and participate in an election that had already been selective by the peoples Democratic Party government of governor Olusegun Mimiko.
"This is the same governor that refused to pay our five months salary and subjecting us to fervent hardship and poverty in the State" an angry civil servant said.
SaharaReporters can authoritatively report that there were instances of violence in Akure North and Ifedore Local Government Areas of the State between some candidates of the participating political parties who were angered and felt cheated over imposition of candidates on them by the governor's foot soldiers.
Olugbenga Ige, the Chairman of ODIEC had announced that only fourteen political parties including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would be participate in the Saturday election.
SaharaReporters investigation revealed that in some polling units in Akure South and North Local Government Areas of the State, voters were "bribed and forced" out of their compounds by agents of the PDP to turnout for the Saturday election.
An impeccable source revealed to our correspondent how some loyalists in the civil service of the Ondo State government were initially bought with funds to manipulate the election but were later dislodged and replaced with PDP agents.
"Some loyal civil servants who were trained as Returning Officers by the State Independent Electoral Commission in Akure were given essential materials for the election and even slept over in the commission's office over night after they were bribed and mobilized financially.
"Surprisingly, they were recalled back to the commission's office to return all the sensitive materials in their possession and money given to them few hours to the election, thereby delaying the whole process till around some minutes past 10 am in an election that ought to start by 8 am,” the source said
A top government official who confided in one of our reporters after the election said the action of the Governor to recall the civil servants and replaced them with core party supporters was to rigged the election in favor of PDP candidates in the contest.
"You will agree with me that people refused to come out for this election and it shows a low turnout of voters in virtually all the local council areas of the State.
"So, in order to meet up with the total number of vote to be counted as a winner in the election, we have to bring in our people in the party to help mount the polling units by serving as Returning Officers for the election.
"And they were able to cooperate by giving us ballot papers to massively thumb print in favor of the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party contesting the chairmanship and councillorship seats in the eighteen local government areas of the state" he added.
Sources in the southern area of the state revealed to SaharaReporters that electorates in the community abstained totally from the poll in protest of government abandonment of the area.
"They complained there is no basic amenities from this present government most of the especially in some locals around Irele local government that had been in darkness for some past years.
"This got them angry and made them to unanimously decide not to come out and vote or partake in the whole exercise which is meant to further corrupt the seat of government in the few months toy he expiration of this incumbent administration in the state".
It was gathered that ODIEC Chairman would official announced results of all the winners at the commission's headquarters in Akure tomorrow.