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Cash and Carry Votes in Osun

Aftermath of a scary pre-election violence in some parts of the state, Osun people trooped out in their numbers to exercise their voting rights on Saturday 23rd February, 2019.

Before Saturday’s vote, there has been apprehension on voters turnout given the outbreak of violence between the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Ila, Obokun and Atakumosa East local councils in the state. The upscale of violence led to the frequent violent attacks between supporters of APC and PDP in Ila-Orangun and the burning down of five houses in Igangan, Atakumosa East local council.

However, voting commenced timely across the state under a peaceful atmosphere with voters on the queue, in orderly manner, to cast their votes for candidates of their choice.

At Dada Estate, Olorunsogo Ward 10 Unit 002 in Egbedore Local Council, voters were already on the queue voting by 8.15 am. But for voters at Osunbukola Junction, Olorunsogo Ward 10, Unit 003, it was a herculean task finding their number on the voters lists pasted by INEC on the wall of a house nearby the polling center as it has fallen off and scattered on the ground.

It was more of a funfare at Ataoja ‘E’ Railway Station, Oke-Fia Unit 05 in Osogbo Local Council as voters were orderly on the queue and those who cannot stand for too long sat on the available park benches with food sellers, recharge card and cold drinks vendor milling around the voting area to make brisk business.

The card reader malfunctioned and halted voting for about two hours at Agowande Ward 1 Unit 003 in Olorunda Local Council which led to agitation among the voters. The problem was subsequently fixed by INEC and voting resumed without further hitch. At Owode Ward 1 Unit 001, also in Olorunda Local Council, voters also had to scramble with each other to locate their number on the voters list pasted by INEC because it has scattered on the floor around the area.

Also at Otaefun, Ayetoro Unit 003, in Olorunda Local Council, voters complain about the slow process of voting which kept them on the queue for so long. Mrs Aolat Adedokun said something should be done as per the creation of additional voting centre by INEC as she trekked for over one kilometer from her Ayekale area to the polling center.

TELL sighted a young man with a four-page sheet of paper with names and numbers of prospective voters. When challenged on what he was doing with the list of voters, he said it was that of members of his community and was compiled to call those that we not at the voting centre yet. But on further checks around the voting centre which has five voting points, it was discovered that he was a scout for one of the political parties feeding other layers of a vote buying gang located across the street.

It was also discovered at Otaefun, Ayetoro polling centre in Olorunda Local Council that voters were flouting INEC regulation by entering the cubicle arena with their phones to take photographs of their ballot papers. Some party supporters were also too close to the voting cubicle that they were at a vantage position to see which party a voter thumb printed for.

The election was conducted under an atmosphere devoid of rancor in Ifelodun and Boripe Local Councils in the state with voters organizing themselves in an orderly manner to cast their vote. Prominent politicians of APC and PDP were seen milling around voting centres in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Council to ensure nothing was left to chance, especially as regards greasing the palm of voters with cash to get a favourable outcome later. This was noticeable at Megida Kuoye, Olonde Unit 008 in Ikirun.

By 1.30 pm, voting has been concluded at Isale Asa, Baptist High School Iree, Boripe Local Council with some voters waiting to witness the counting and announcement of the result, while the INEC officials were eagerly waiting for the close of voting period to announce the result.

In Boluwaduro Local Council, the voters defy the scorching heat to be on the line to cast their vote. Voters were seen on the queue at St. Philips Pry School, Unit 001 Oke-Omi, Otan-Ayegbaju while many who could not stand the mid-day sun hibernated where ever they could find a shade around the classrooms while they wait to exercise their franchise.

The voters waiting by the side apart from those on the queue at Esele Recreation Hall II, Gbeleru Obaala II, Unit 2, Igbajo occupied the road and were complaining that the voting process be speedied up so that they can vote and go home rather than suffering in the sun. One of the voters who spoke on condition of anonymous said she was bearing the heat and had to wait because she was ‘mobilized’ to come out and vote.

Another drama was witnessed at Obaala Iloro Market Square, Unit 003 in Igbajo. It was the only polling unit where the Presiding Officer was busy folding the three ballot papers for the voters. Voters were forced to stay under the sun while the process moved a t a snail speed. When asked why he was folding the ballot papers, the PO insisted he was following a directive from the INEC headquarters. To further compound the woes of the voters, the PO was stooling and had to frequently visit the toilet while the process got halted until his return.

Sunday Akere, an aspirant for the House of Representatives for Ila/Boluwaduro/ Ifedayo got to the voting centre before 10am but could not cast his vote until almost 3pm. He told TELL that his complaint about the way and manner the process was running fell on deaf ears until he called the Election Officer before things were sorted out.

The incidence of malfunctioning of the card reader in Obokun Local Council led to voting dragging into late in the evening in some polling units. At Ilare Community Primary School, Ward 10, Unit 005 voting commenced at around 12pm due to the problem with the card reader. It was the same situation at Igigun Ward 10, Unit 007 where voting started at 1.00pm after the problem of the card reader was resolved by INEC officials.

However, the problem of logistics reared its head at Esa-Oke Grammar School, Ward 10, Unit 7 when after voting dragged on till the evening and after the counting and announcement of the result, the vehicle to convey the result sheets, men and other materials was not forthcoming. It took repeated calls that it was almost getting dark and that security of the result won’t be guaranteed by the security men at the unit for a bus to surface at around 6.50pm.

The presidential election in Osun has come and gone, but it left behind tales of various ingenious methods used by politicians of PDP and APC extraction in their desperate bid to influence the outcome of the election.

Bola Fashoyin told this magazine that she received a call from one of the two parties that she should vote for a particular senatorial candidate and get a monetized reward of ten thousand naira. Other voters were approached by scouters who negotiate the amount to be given to a voter directly at the polling unit.

In another scenario, agents of candidates get the commitments of voters who were willing to play ball and transfer money ranging from five to fifteen thousand naira into the accounts after collecting their details and swearing under oath that they would fulfill their own side of the bargain.

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