The rains signified what to expect as it rained heavily, accompanied with storms that scattered all the canopies erected for the purposes of the primary election. This led to the exercise starting late far behind schedule.
No sooner had the elections started than some people raised alarms about on going business amongst delegates. “Some contestants who thought they had secured their candidates were shocked to their candidates trading with other contestant’s agents via text messages on their phones”,
The delegate gave a vivid description of what happened. ” Some people took their delegates to hotels in Akure, Ondo State where other contestants cannot reach them. They were however shocked when they discovered that the delegates, using their telephones, have inquired about the amount of money each candidates are offering. Through the phones, they contact agents of the highest bidder contestant and vote for him, and collected their money through the same agent after coming out of Kayode Oluyemi Stadium, venue of the primary election.
The contestant with the deepest pocket, a former governor of the state was also alleged to be using the DSS and police to guide and monitor the delegates as they vote.
As the conduct proceeded, an argument broke out while delegates from Moba and Ijero local government areas (LGAs) were voting and in the process, some persons reached for nearby ballot boxes.
Security personnel struggled with one of the persons carrying a ballot box and the box fell while its content spilled on the ground. Some aggrieved persons also smashed boxes on the ground while policemen and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) managed to secure some.
Pandemonium soon broke out as supporters started attacking themselves, started smashing ballot boxes and singing abusing songs against former Governor Kayode Fayemi. Shots of “Fayemi ole! Fayemi ole!! (Fayemi thief! Fayemi thief) rent the air as the elections were disrupted.
The Chairman of the election organising committee, and Governor of Nassarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura, in a bid to save the situation had a meeting with some stakeholders. None of the contestants however attended the meeting.
The delegates accused Fayemi of conspiring with operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) to ensure that the outcome favours him.
An election observer spoke on the cause of the violence. He said people decided to disrupt the process because they had lost hope in it.
“We saw police officers voting; we also have evidence of someone pointing and telling people where to vote, and we also saw a former governor who was siting down there and directing his agents to talk to DSS operatives who were directing people where to vote,” he said.
“This is clearly a compromised election and when an election is compromised, people fight back. What we’re only seeing here is a symptom of people feeling that they’ve been disfranchised and we should not allow it.”
A total of 2,408 delegates were accredited for the exercise across the 16 LGAs in the state. Only four LGAs had voted when chaos broke out.
Meanwhile former governor of the state and present Minister of Mines and Steel Development also an aspirant Dr Kayode Fayemi, has condemned the disruption of the party’s governorship primary election today in Ado Ekiti, by thugs believed to be working for some aspirants in the race.
The leading governorship aspirant says the party does not deserve the type of ridicule which the shameful act of the hoodlums had subjected it to.
The Minister, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Yinka Oyebode, said the disruption of the primary election was the height of desperation on the part of some aspirants, who having seen defeat staring them in the face, conspired together to ensure that the exercise was not concluded.
Dr Fayemi said the aspirants resorted to violence and destruction, having realised that he was already in a clear lead in the five local governments that had cast their votes.
Dr Fayemi, who said he was not surprised by the disruption of the exercise, revealed that the security agencies had, a few days to the primary, been notified of plans by some aspirants to deploy hoodlums to disrupt the voting exercise.
“It is quite painful seeing some desperate elements trying so much to rubbish the party we all laboured to build to national reckoning, out of share lust for power.
“If the quest for political position is to serve, then one wonders why the desperation being displayed by the likes of Femi Ojudu and Bimbo Daramola.
“Certainly the conduct of these desperate aspirants falls short of the minimum standards expected of anyone that professes progressive ideals.
“We urge our teeming supporters and loyal party members not to be discouraged by this despicable act. This surely shall pass, and better days are ahead. Our collective rescue mission has indeed begun.”