Bayelsa/ Kogi Polls: Suspected Hoodlums Destroy Ballot Boxes In Mopamuro, Ijumu, Ogbia LGAs,

From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja


Some suspected political thugs on Saturday, snatched and destroyed ballot boxes in Mopamuro and Ijumu Local Government Areas of Kogi State and Ogbia in Bayelsa.

The Aiyedayo Ward 08, PU- 004, Amuro, Mopamuro LGA, was invaded at about 12 noon by some hoodlums, who inflict injuries on voters, destroyed and tore all the thumb printed ballot papers at the unit, which made INEC officials and voter to scampered for safety.

Also, some suspected thugs have disrupted voting in three polling units in Aiyetoro Gbedde in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.

The polling units are Iluhafon, Town Hall and Okebukun polling units. The thugs arrived in a Hilux van    shooting sporadically and went away with the ballot boxes, while one eligible voter was shot in the process.

He was immediately taken to the hospital for medical attention.

Voter have deserted the affected polling units for safety of their lives.

Speaking on the incidence, the Chieftain of the PDP, Commodore Folusho Daniel rtd, accused the APC of importing some dreaded thugs into the area to unleash mayhem on voters, snatched and destroyed ballot boxes.

Daniel, who was a former Lawmaker representing Mopamuro State Constituency, said the INEC officials had been credible in their conducts, and the police had also been fair.

”But the problem we are having, is that the APC has hired large number thugs, who had infiltrated everywhere within the communities; this is what we are battling with.

”I learnt that they have snatched and destroyed some ballots boxes in Aiyedayo.

”We are just waiting too see if they would come around to some of our units in Orokere Ward 06, but we are prepared for them too; So far so good,” he said.

He advised all the PDP supporters in area to remain camp and wait for the outcome of the voting, saying, ”once the votes are sorted, counted and recorded, then, we would know the next step to take.

”In spite that, we are in the high spirit because obviously we are in the majority”.

However, Hon Kayode Dennis, an APC stalwart, said ”so far so good, I can only speak for my own polling unit; the turnout was very poor, but all the same things are going on smoothly.

He said that no thug was imported by APC as a party or by any of its members as it was being circulated.

Dennis noted that the four tyres of his car were also punctured by some hoodlums in the night, saying it was very unfair and undemocratic.

”Our people should abstain from political bitterness and embrace peace because politics is not war; I am not happy about it.

He also commended the INEC and the Police for being fair in the conduct of the elections.

Also speaking, Mr Gbenga Agbona, a member of APC (aka King of Boys), said that they were tired of bad governance and non payment of salaries in Kogi, saying they were ready to lay down their lives to defend their votes.

Meanwhile, sorting and counting of votes have started across all the polling units in  the areas.

Voters had trooped  very early in their large numbers to exercise the civic right, which made voting to quickly ended in most of the polling units.

In Bayelsa, Gov. Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa who voted at Polling Unit 005, Ward 2, Toru-Orua community, Sagbama Local Government Area of the state alleged that the All Progressives Congress of working with security agencies to hijack voting materials.

He said after voting that security agencies had aided the APC to move voting materials meant for Nembe and Southern Ijaw local government areas to unknown destinations.

“There is a well-organised election crime ongoing in our state; they have established unofficial collation centres in some places.

“There whole intention is to subvert the will of the people and jeopardise the efforts of well-meaning Bayelsa people to develop the state,’’ he said.

He, however, commended the people of Toru-Orua for their turn-our during the election, saying, “ your passion for positive change is commendable’’

But some community people who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN expressed satisfaction at the level of calm and order in the conduct of the poll.

They said that the presence of security personnel in the community had reduced the tension among the voting public.

Chief Abite Alawei, a community leader said that he was confident that the process would be concluded without violence.

“We have not witnessed any breach of law and order in the community since the process began, our people have conducted themselves orderly.

“As you can see, voting is also ongoing, and the process is orderly, we pray it continues this way till the end,’’ he said.

Mr Amaye Soldier, a teacher, also told NAN that he was satisfied with the conduct of the polling officials in the unit.

“We are watching the process, so far, we are comfortable with the conduct of the election officials, they have shown fairness and purpose,’’ he said.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cancelled voting exercise in Ologi (Ward 03) of Ogbia Local Government Area due to electoral violence and seizing of an electoral official. According to INEC supervisory resident electoral commissioner for Ogbia LGA identified as Ukuachukwu Orji, members of the Ologi community forcibly prevented election in the riverine area.

“As our people (electoral officers) were coming into the community after crossing the river, they seized them and the materials and burnt all the materials.”

“They chased our people away and seized some but the military rescued them.” Mr Orji

Ogbia is ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s LGA, where he voted in ward 13.