There are indications that the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may cancel the results of the Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area primary election, as well as those of Surulere, Ikorodu and Badagry LGAs held on Saturday, over reports of violence and electoral malpractices in the areas.
This is coming as some aggrieved aspirants and members of the APC on Sunday visited the State secretariat of the party to express their displeasure over the elections.
The aspirants, who visited the State secretariat accompanied by their supporters, lamented how the election was allegedly flooded with irregularities, violence, ballot snatching and rigged to favor some aspirants
In a petition to Chief Tunde Balogun, the Lagos State APC Chairman, on Sunday, Prince Kunle Dosumu, the party agent to Mr. Ibrahim Balogun, one of the chairmanship aspirants of Amuwo Odofin LG, complained of how the incumbent Chairman of Amuwo Odofin LG, Valentine Buraimoh, allegedly organised thugs wilding various types of dangerous weapons like guns sponsored across various wards of the LG during the election.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
I am writing to officially report on the unfortunate incidences that characterized the just concluded APC party primary election for Counsellorship and Chairmanship aspirants held on Saturday, 29th May, 2021 at designated centres across the various wards in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area.
The exercise was marred by violence and electoral malpractices, during and immediately after the primaries that frustrated the efforts of genuine voters and I am hereby using this medium to express my utmost displeasure and register our frustration via this petition. Below are issues that were observed during the exercise.
1. Late Arrival of Electoral Officers and Materials: Despite the early arrival of registered party members (voters, aspirants and agents) who came out en masses to vote for the candidates of their choice, the exercise was delayed by the late arrival of the electoral officers and materials. The accreditation and voting did not commence at the scheduled time of 8am due to the late arrival of the electoral officers and voting materials across various designated accreditation and voting centres for the primaries.
• In Ward K the electoral officials arrived the polling unit at UPE Primary School 3rd Avenue Festac by 11:30am.
• In Ward J, elections started at 11:0am at Tomaro Secondary School Tomaro
• In Ward A1, election started 12:00 noon at the Community Primary School Alaba Express along Oshodi – Apapa Expressways
• In Ward C Elections started at 11:30am at 4th Avenue Primary School between 41 road and 401 road
2. Electoral Malpractice and Official Malfeasance: Incidences of electoral malpractice were observed in many polling units.
• Accreditation did not take place before the commencement of voting in Wards J, B1, B2, C, A1, A2.
• In Ward A2, Mr Ayo Ogungbiye, APC Chairman Amuwo Odofin LG approved the voting exercise to be held without accreditation first taking place, stating that Chief Tunde Balogun, APC Chairman Lagos State, had given approval for this. This is clearly against electoral rules. However when we called to verify this claim, Hon Tunde Balogun denied giving such directive and said he would call Mr Ogungbiye to order.
• The electoral officers did not inform the agents on the numbers of ballot papers that were brought and procedures for the process.
• Individuals already in possession of fake APC membership slips were seen stationed within the voting centres and were given free rein and allowed to vote at the centres.
• In Ward B1, electorates were locked out of the compound by the security agents in connivance with Engr.Cecil Okereke and Mr Fuja while names of electorates who favoured the leader of the house Mr. Abimbola Oshodi and Mr Valentine Buraimoh.were allowed access into the poling centre at 5th Avenue Primary School, 5th avenue, Festac Town.
• It was also observed that unregistered party members were being given slips without photographs. External policemen were alerted about the lock out of the supporters of other aspirants and had to enforce the opening of the gate to everyone.
This brazen electoral malpractice and overt official malfeasance were largely condoned by electoral officials and security personnel, and ably coordinated by certain party stalwarts and identified political figures at the polling centres, principal among whom is the incumbent Local Government Council Chairman and an aspirant, Mr. Valentine Oluseyi Buraimoh, who personally spearheaded the mayhem at Ward A1, B2, and K where his thugs released some gunshot into the air to scare away voters while his foot soldiers were at Ward B1, C and J to carry out similar atrocity that impeded the processes and imperilled voters’ lives.
3. Disruption and Repression of Accreditation and Voting: In spite of the fact that accreditation and voting commenced more than three (3) hours after the originally scheduled time, it is unfortunate to note that in not less than forty-five minutes into the accreditation and voting exercises the process was disrupted by violence perpetrated by the incumbent Local Government Council Chairman and aspirant, Mr. Valentine Oluseyi Buraimoh who brought in gun wielding thugs to shoot into the air and scatter the crowd. In the ensuring mayhem and panic, they snatched the accreditation and voting materials, carted away the ballot boxes into nearby coaster buses and cars and were seen compromising the ballot boxes by stuffing them with their own voting slips and also destroying some already filled/cast ballots as people ran to safety.
• In Ward K, Mr Valentine Buraimoh and his gun wielding thugs disrupted proceedings with shootings, destruction and snatching of ballot boxes. An agent was hit and is in a critical state in the hospital at the moment.
• In Ward J, Chief Okeshina an older member of the Party and a Baale in Onisiwo brought in Navy officers stationed at the pipeline to scare people. Rounds of gunshots were fired into the air to scare people and allow electoral malpractices to be perpetrated. In the rush to get back to safety, the aged ones were stampeded on and some got injured during the process. The officials later called electorates back to cast their ballot after it had been secretly taken away to be stuffed. There was no interest in voting anymore as electorates were scared. Chief Okeshina is known to be working with Valentine Buraimoh, the incumbent Chairman.
• In Ward A1, the voting process was disrupted when thugs loyal to Mr Valentine Buraimoh numbering up to 80 were seen harassing voters immediately they arrived. They disrupted the process and carried the ballot box away. Vote buying and other election malpractices were also observed to be perpetrated by the agents of Mr Dipo Olorunrinu.
• In ward A2 Mr Valentine Buraimoh stormed the ward with his hoodlums who were highly resisted by the youths of the area. While votes were being counted for the Councillorship aspirants at the LGA Party Secretariat, the APC Chairman Amuwo Odofin LG Mr. Ayo Ogungbiye suddenly packed all the ballot papers and packaged them saying he had to take the ballot papers to the State Secretariat at ACME, Ikeja.
• In Ward B2, the thugs loyal to Mr Dipo Olorunrinu made attempts to snatch the ballot boxes but met stiff resistance by those supporters of the daughter of the king of the area Oba Alado. Voters had to leave the voting center as it became rough and open to security risks.
• In Ward C, there was high level of disorder which distorted the voting process. The thugs of a particular councillorship aspirant (Mr Gbenga Akinbinu) who is attached to the sitting Chairman Mr Valentine Buraimoh were captured beating electorates and disrupting the process which meant that only a few people could cast their votes.
There was also no extension of time for the already accredited voters with voting slips to cast their ballots for the aspirants of their choice as they were stopped and forcefully turned away by the electoral officers and the security personnel at the 3:00pm mark.
4. Molestation of Voters: Greater number of voters as well as aspirants, including agents and monitoring officials were molested, harassed, beaten, wounded and dispersed by gun touting hoodlums, restive supporters, street urchins and social miscreants principally mobilized and largely deployed by the incumbent Local Government Council Chairman and aspirant, Mr. Valentine Oluseyi Buraimoh at the designated centres at the wards within the local government area. Many senior citizens who came to vote at the primaries but were too weak to run for their lives sustained varying degree of injuries and are now hospitalized while many Party faithfuls and supporters of other leading aspirants were physically and visibly assaulted by the hoodlums and thugs who unleashed mayhem and disrupted the election processes.
5. Failure of Policing and Security Architecture: The police and other security apparatus present were laid back in discharging their duties. They were even somewhat complicit as hired thugs, social miscreants and hoodlums had a field day unleashing mayhem, harassing and battering voters and agents, and disrupting the free conduct of the primary exercise, whilst officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp, the Department of State Security (DSS), the Military, made up of the combined team of men drawn from the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria Navy looked on and stayed aloof despite frantic efforts by voters to intimate them to arrest the ugly situations. They seemed unperturbed by the rising violence and were seen strolling around the voting centres and being conveyed across in OP-MESA branded automobile.
Suffice to note that there was no free, fair, peaceful, credible and orderly primaries election at various wards, namely A1, A2, B1, B2, C, K and J of Amuwo Odofin Local Government. It goes to note that any purported results deemed as the outcome of the primaries is and could best be described as a charade and scam thus the need and the call for the immediate invalidation and outright cancellation such election results and/or announcement of such candidates as winners.
We conclude that the conducts of the electoral officers and security operatives can best be described as frustrating, provocative, conniving and complicit which undermined the free and credible processes that the primaries election was designed and meant to achieve. We thus called for the rescheduling and conduct of another primaries election.
We look forward to your speedy action.
Prince Kunle Dosumu
LG Agent to Mr. Ibrahim Balogun
Amuwo Odofin Local Government