by OUR CORRESPONDENTS

…Party leaders blame low turnout on fear of violence

The Gubernatorial and State Assemblies elections which took place across the country yesterday was marked with voters’ apathy, killings, bombing, ballot box snatching and use of fake ballot papers.police-vehicle-

Our correspondents reported from various states in the country that the elections were marked with low turn-out of voters.

Unlike high turn-out of voters which was witnessed during the Presidential and National Assemblies elections on March 28, 2015, yesterday’s elections were shunned by many voters.

Speaking on what might have accounted for the low turn- out of voters, former Lagos State Governor and National leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu said it is as a result of fear of violence

Tinubu made this known after casting his vote at his Ward 047 polling unit on Sunday Adigun street, Alausa, Ikeja

Also speaking on the issue, the former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP , Chief Olabode George said the apathy was due to the fact that voters were being scared away from voting centres.

It was however gathered across the country that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, performed creditably well and more better than it did in the Presidential elections as its officials arrived early and the election materials were also brought to the polling units on time.

It was also gathered that the use of card readers recorded huge success.

Another feature of the election was violence which led to killing, bombing and ballot snatching in various parts of the country.

In Ebonyi State, it was reported that a PDP council chairman and youths were shot dead

The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Mr Emeka Nworie and one other strong supporter of PDP in Ikwo Noyo, one Micheal Ojon, was killed early yesterday morning by unknown gunmen alleged to be sponsored by opposition political party.

It was gathered that Nworie was shot dead after he was randomly shot all over the body by his assailant who also robbed him of an undisclosed amount of money at his residence at Ezzagu in the council area.

The late PDP chieftain hails from the same village with the governorship candidate of the all Progressive congress, APC, who was his close political rival even before the election.

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Chris Anyanwu said that the assailants before killing their victim had approach the victim’s wife and demanded for money before shooting the husband.

However, his corpse was said to have been deposited at an undisclosed mortuary as he could not survive the injury.

Another person was also said to have been killed in Ezza North Local Government Area of the state, although his name could not be ascertained as at press time.

In Rivers State, a policeman and seven other people were said to have been killed as violence rocked the state .

In the ensuing violence, INEC office in the state was said to have been bombed while a Commissioner’s house was torched.

Two journalists were also said to have been beaten in the course of carrying out their official duties.

The killing in Rivers State were said to have occurred before the actual start of the voting in the state

The policeman who lost his life was said to have been killed early on Saturday morning at the Rex-Lawson area of the old Port Harcourt .

Though the cause of the cop’s death was not known, but the State‎ Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Ahmad Mohammad who confirmed the killing said there were traces of violence before the policeman died.

Mohammad further said: “The policeman killed was one of those deployed to monitor the elections today (Saturday). We see that there was evidence of violence before he was killed.

“His remains has been moved from to a nearby morgue and we (Police) have commenced investigation into the killing,” he said.

The police image maker however, said over 17, 000 policemen were deployed to monitor the poll across the state, with a minimum of two policemen in each polling unit.

It was gathered that one person was beheaded, while two others were shot dead in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of the state, even as hoodlums stormed INEC office and reportedly threw substances suspected to by dynamite into INEC office, destroying election materials and vehicles‎.

Though th‎e cause of the killings were not immediately ascertained, but it may not be unconnected with power tussle between the two main political parties in the state.

Also, eyewitnesses said there were heavy shootings on Friday night preceding the election‎ up until about 7am yesterday (Saturday) morning in Buguma, capital city of Asari-Toru local government area, even as supporters of parties were spotted burning tyres on the main road.

The situation heightened tension in the area, while many residents stayed at home for fear of being hit by stray bullet.

It was also gathered that the residence of the State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Joyba West was burnt by unknown hoodlums, while she was also attacked.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari confirmed the attack on Mrs. West, saying her colleague was still hiding.

Killing was also recorded in Osun State following the shooting of one, Orimogunje Dare, by suspected gunmen.

The incident, it was learnt happened at NUD Primary School, Ilase, when accreditation was about to commence.

When Sunday Mirror paid a visit to Ilase-Ijesa around 11:30 am yesterday, mobile policemen were still firing shot into the air to scare some suspected thugs, said to be hiding in the town.

Sources told our correspondents that some heavily armed men invaded the town around 9:30 am, but were repelled by the police and people of the town.

A chieftain of APC, who hails from the town, Mr. Jumoke Ogunkeyede was seen being held by the mother of the shot victim and some women, who accused him of bringing the perpetrators of the violence to the town.

Efforts to speak with Mr. Ogunkeyede, however proved futile, as women, who held him refused all entreaties to release him for security operatives and newsmen.

Commissioner of Police in charge of election in the state, Mr. Valentine Ntomchukwu, confirmed the development as he said that some gunmen invaded Ilase, but were repelled by the police.

Soldiers also yesterday shot and killed a 21-year old man at the Ali Kazaure polling unit in Jos North local government area of Plateau state .
It was gathered that the man, whose names are identified as Salim Nasir, who was supporting one of the political parties was shot dead by the soldier when he engaged supporters of another party in a scuffle.
It was further learnt that Nasir in the course of the scuffle drew out a knife to kill a supporter of another party , but as a soldier tried to take the weapon from him, he was said to have struggled with him.
Sources said it was in the course of the scuffle that the soldier fired at him.

In Imo State, there was violence in Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas where youths allegedly belonging to APC burnt down a police station at Agwa in Oguta Local Government Area’
This is even as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and All Progressives Congress, APC traded accusations of snatching of ballot papers and intimidation of voters in some parts of Aboh Mbaise and Ohaji Egbema LGAs of the state..
It was gathered that the restive youths went berserk when they suspected that the police in the area were aiding and abetting electoral fraud in of the PDP.

This reportedly provoked them into violence which culminated in the burning of the police station.

In Ebonyi State patrolling soldiers arrested the Administrative Assistant to Governor Martin Elechi for allegedly mobilizing over twenty thugs, armed them with AK47 and carried ballot boxes in about six polling units in Ikwo local government area of the state.

It was gathered that the embattled aide to the governor was arrested at the governor’s polling unit at Ndiagu Echara Ward 1 in Ikwo Local Govt Area while moving in convoy with the armed thugs.

There were also cases of snatching of boxes in Okpogo community, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area, of Kogi state as a group of youths reportedly snatched ballot boxes.

It was gathered that some of the ballot papers at some polling unit‎s in Ayingba and Egume Area of Kogi state were fake while the ballot papers at some polling units were alleged to have been snatched.
It was further gathered that one of the agents of the political parties who was aware of the fake ballot papers in Ayingba polling unit demanded to know why fake ones were brought to the units and in the process, election was disrupted.
Sources hinted that the original ballot papers were given to one of the political party to be tomb printing at Our Lady of school at Ayingba.
It was gathered that election materials were snatched on their way to the polling units in Ofu and Idah local governments area of Kogi State

There were reports of snatching of ballot boxes and result sheets in some areas in Eleme an‎d Ahoada West Local Government Areas respectively of Rivers State.

Also in ‎Ahoada West Local Government Area of the state, precisely in Ubita, ward 10, results sheets and bollot boxes were snatched by hoodlums, while counting of votes was going on in the ward.

This is as two persons who pose as policemen were arrested by soldiers and taken a nearby police station in Eleme.

In Oyo State, a middle aged man was arrested by the police on Saturday when he was found to be in possession of fake Permanent Voter Card, PVC at a polling unit in Ibadan.

The suspect who was promptly stopped by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC officials while attempting to use the Card Reader was handed over to the police on the spot.

Also in Ondo State voting materials were carted away by hoodlums in Ugbo Ward 1, 2 and 2 in Ilaje Local Government Area of the state just as election was also disrupted in some parts of Ondo East Local government Area following sporadic shooting since Friday night.

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