Home News Accreditation commences in South West states amidst tight security

Accreditation commences in South West states amidst tight security


Security Ibadan – Accreditation for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections commenced early on Saturday across many states in the South West Zone amidst tight security by police and army personnel. Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report that the accreditation process in many polling units was going on smoothly across the zone in contrast to the March 28 polls which were marred in many instances by challenges with the Smart Card Readers. In Ibadan, Oyo State, armed security personnel including soldiers, policemen and the NSCDC were seen in strategic places. At Bere, Molete, Challenge, Aleshinloye Junction, Mokola Roundabout, Sango, and Iwo Road Roundabout, road blocks were mounted by soldiers and other security personnel. The security personnel stopped vehicles and demanded to know where the drivers were going to and those with legitimate businesses were allowed to pass while others were asked to go back home. Also sighted at Mapo area were officers from the Special Intelligence Bureau who were busy patrolling some streets. At Sango area of the metropolis, the road leading to Ijokodo was sealed while a heavy security presence was noticed. At Agbowo Ward 12, Unit 8A, Ibadan North West Local Government Area, accreditation was ongoing peacefully under the watch of security agents. Speaking at the unit, Hon. Gboyega Makanjuola, a PDP House of Assembly candidate, commended the security arrangement which had ensured a peaceful accreditation process. NAN reports that accreditation began at Ward 9, Oluwo in Egbeda Local Government Area at about 9,. a.m. amidst tight security and an impressive turnout. At Ward 6, Unit 16, Oke Padre, accreditation began at 8.20 a.m. in an orderly manner. But at Olopo Meta in Olorunsogo area of Ibadan, political thugs were said to have harassed voters. A resident, who simply identified himself as Alhaji Akintunde, urged security agencies to draft their personnel in the area. He told news men that the thugs had been disturbing the peace of the area since Friday night, adding that “ only a few of us were able to do accreditation.’’ In Ogbomoso, voting materials arrived early at many polling units while
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accreditation commenced as early as 8. am. Former Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala and Labour Party Candidate in the governorship election was accredited at 8.20a.m. at his Unit 13, Sabop/Tarra Ward 10 in Ogbomoso. Alao-Akala, who was accompanied by his wife, Oluwakemi, described the accreditation exercise so far as hitch-free. He urged the electorate to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner. A resident, Mr Dele Abu, who was accredited at 9.07 a.m. at Unit 6, Isale-Ora.Sara Ward 5, described the exercise as smooth and fast. He said the Smart Card Reader was now more efficient and would give credibility to the electoral process. NAN reports that more than 21,000 policemen had been deployed in Oyo State for the elections in which no fewer than 277 candidates will be vying for elective posts. NAN also reports that 12 political parties will be presenting candidates for the governorship position while 14 parties will present 265 candidates in the contest for 32 seats in the state House of Assembly. In Osun, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) deployed trained sniffer dogs to polling units across the state to detect Improvised Explosives Devices (IDEs). Alhaji Tajudeen Balogun, the State NSCDC Commandant, told journalists in Osogbo that the dogs would not disrupt voting process. He said the dogs would sniff around polling units to detect and apprehend anyone with explosive device with the aid of NSCDC officers. Balogun said that the dogs, which are well trained and have been part of the corps for some time, are now being deployed for election duty because of the security situation in the country. The commandant said that the dogs are well trained to detect what ordinary eyes cannot see and expressed confidence that the input of the dogs would further ensure safety during the elections. Security operatives took positions in strategic areas of Osogbo and other major towns in Osun as early as 7:30a.m., to enforce law and order. The law enforcement agents included men of the Nigerian Army, the police, and officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence (NSCDC). NAN observed that soldiers mounted road blocks at popular junctions including Abere, Olaiya and Okefia among other areas to scrutinise human and vehicular movements. Also, policemen and NSCDC officials were stationed at polling units to ensure security of the electorate and election materials. A soldier at Olaiya junction, who did not want his name published, told NAN that movement of vehicles that were not on election duty was not allowed after 8.00a.m. The elections commenced in many parts of Ogun with the accreditation of voters around 8.15 a.m. NAN reports that INEC officials and electoral materials arrived many polling centres around 7.50 a.m. accompanied by security agencies. The exercise which was monitored by NAN at Remo, Ilaro, Abeokuta, Ijebu, Otta among others was peaceful and orderly. NAN reports that there was heavy presence of police officials and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) at the polling centres while military personnel secured major junctions at the cities. NAN observed tremendous improvement in the operations of the card readers, though there were few cases of rejections. The turn-out of voters was also impressive as the number almost doubled that of the presidential polls in some of the polling centres. Some voters went with generating sets to some of the polling centres to assist INEC in case of need. Some of the voters interviewed by NAN attributed the large turn-out to renewed confidence in the electoral process. “Now that I am sure that my vote counts, I am encouraged to come out and vote,” Mr Ayodele Adejobi, a civil servant, told NAN at Unit 2, Ward Kuto area of Abeokuta South Council area. Polling units in Odogbolu and Ijebu-Ode Local Government Areas in Ogun witnessed a positive turnout of voters. A visit by NAN correspondent to some wards across the local government areas indicated a general positive mood on the side of voters. It was observed that both INEC officials and voting materials arrived on schedule for the accreditation exercise which started in most polling units at 8 a.m. At Ward 11, Polling Unit 2 in Odogbolu, voters turned out as early as 7 a.m. with most beginning their accreditation as soon as the INEC officials arrived. Olufayo Ibrahim, 42, said he was impressed with the arrangement this time around as compared to the presidential polls. Another respondent, Mr Tunji Okiji, a public official, said it was obvious INEC had resolved most of the challenges witnessed in the last elections. The voters were optimistic that the polls would be conducted peacefully without hitches. NAN reports a heavy presence of police and NSCDC officers at the polling units and those of the Nigerian Army at major highways. In Ekiti, a tight security cordon was thrown across the state as the accreditation process got underway. The police spokesman in the state, Albert Adeyemo, said the tight security was to prevent breakdown of law and order, especially inview of the political crisis in the state. The Deputy Governor in the state, Mr Kolapo Olusola, expressed satisfaction with the security arrangement in the state. In Ilorin, the Kwara capital, the accreditation exercise was also being conducted smoothly across many council areas. Officers drawn from the police, army, NSCDC, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, NDLEA and FRSC were sighted at strategic points in the metropolis.(NAN)

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