According to a report by The PUNCH, a voter at Ward 01, Idofin, Odo-Ado, Ado-Ekiti, has alleged that suspected thugs serving the interests of the All Progressives Congress beat him up when he challenged them over vote-buying in his polling unit.
The voter, Bayo Omole (not real name), said the thugs also slapped his mother who went with him to cast his ballot.
Narrating his ordeal to our correspondent in a telephone interview, Omole said he got to the polling unit with his mother to cast his vote for his preferred candidate, and while in the queue, he noticed some irregularities and decided to find out what was going on.
“I stepped out the line to check what was going on, then I realised two young adults…like in their mid-40s or so, they were standing there and were asking those that had already voted, ‘What (party) did you thumb print? Who did you vote for?’ and as the voters replied, the two young men were giving them (the voters) tallies and N10,000 (each),” Omole said.
He said he felt that such was not supposed to happen with the security officers and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission on the ground.
Omole said that kept on going unabated.
“There was a party agent who spoke up against it and he was silenced by the thugs. They punched him and broke his phone,” Omole added.
He said, seeing what they had done to the party agent, he (Omole) also brought out his phone to record what was going on.
“I brought out my phone to also take a recording of what was going on, which I was not too smart about; I would have done it more carefully.
“In that process, some guys saw me and asked, ‘Did they send you? Did they ask you to come and snap us?’
“I denied it, but one of the two young men handing out the cash to voters came to me and snatched my phone. I asked why he would take my phone from me, and I realised that the ward is where the Local Government chairman, who is an APC member, also cast his vote.
“It appeared that everyone was coming to vote for (the) APC. If you are there to vote for another party, they will bully you.
“I asked him to give me my phone, that I didn’t want any problem. It was in the process that my mum came and pleaded with them: ‘Please oh, he’s my son; what has he done?'”
Omole said one of the suspected APC thugs held his cloth and his mum asked the young man to let her son be. It was in that instant that the young man slapped his (Omole’s) mum.
“I asked why he would slap an elderly person. I got angry and punched the guy straight up. The others there surrounded me and held me so that the guy (that I punched) could punch me. My lips are already open and my right cheek is swollen. I don’t know who cut me; somebody cut me on my wrist. I was bleeding,” Omole added.
He further stated that the security officers at the polling unit did not “come close” while all that was going on. He said it was after he had been beaten that one of the security officers came to him and told him he should have been more careful.
Asked if the thugs were preventing supporters of other parties from voting, Omole said he was not sure about that. He, however, said one of the party agents present lamented that supporters of other parties were either not allowed to get to the polling unit or bullied if they got there.
Asked about the number of thugs that pounced on him and what the reactions of the security officers there were, Omole said four guys started and one left to call two others to make them six.
He said they threatened to stab and kill him.
He also said the security officers present were indifferent about the incident even though everything happened before their eyes.
Asked if he felt disenfranchised, Omole said he was disenfranchised and his mum got home and was crying.
Omole’s mum is 58 years old.
Asked if he would be confident enough to go out to vote in the future, Omole said he would always go out to vote. He added that he was only disappointed at the incident.