It’s been a harvest of gunshots, violence, complaints and counter-complaints from Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States where off-season gubernatorial elections held on Saturday.
From Imo, the Labour Party gubernatorial candidate, Athan Achonu, alleged, among others, that electoral materials were moved to the palace of a traditional ruler.
In Bayelsa, the candidate of the same party, Eradiri, who appeared upbeat as elections began expressed total disappointment later as he alleged vote buying was rampant. Even a woman whose son was enjoying scholarship from him allegedly sold her vote for N14,000. There were allegations in the state votes were being sold there for between N12,000 and N40,000.
In the state alone, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) hauled in over N9,000,000 from alleged vote buyers.
In Kogi, an alleged ballot box snatcher was gunned down in Anyigba town by yet-to-be-identified persons, while allegations of pre-filled election results filled the air.
Again, the integrity of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was called to question in some instances; while a viral video showed a completely naked aide to the deputy gubernatorial candidate of a party in Bayelsa confessing to planned violence. He was holding bullets as he was questioned by unidentified individuals that were off-camera.
Meantime, the EFCC says its operatives have arrested 14 (Fourteen) suspected vote buyers in Otueke, Adawari playgrounds in Bayelsa State and at various polling units in Imo and Kogi States.
“They were arrested on Saturday, November 11, 2023 in intelligence-driven operations that commenced several days before the ongoing governorship elections in the three states.
“Also, a total sum of N11,040, 000( Eleven Million, Forty Thousand Naira only) comprising N9,310,00( Nine Million, Three Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira) intercepted from suspected vote buyers and sellers in Bayelsa and N1,730, 000( One Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira) intercepted from electoral fraud suspects across Imo State, were recovered from them.
“Also, two vehicles were intercepted from the suspects.
“They will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded,” the statement by its spokesman, Mr. Dele Oyewale said.