Oyo State chapter of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) has raised an alarm over an alleged impersonation of its agents in some of the local government councils in the state by people suspected to be members of one of the opposition parties in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The alarm was raised by the Acting State Chairman of the party, Comrade Adeola Adepoju, who told our reporter that the infractions were noticed in Ibadan North, Northwest and one other local government councils in the state, stressing that the genuine members were turned back by the electoral officers in some of the polling booths in the affected areas.
Adepoju accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state of connivance unknowingly with the renegades within the party led by Mr. Akin Alamu, the suspended Caretaker Committee chairman of the party by releasing to them the party agents’ tags ahead of the presidential election two weeks ago.
It would be recalled that Alamu and his co-travellers had earlier this year dumped AD and its gubernatorial candidate in the state, Engr. Oyedele Hakeem Alao (OHA), who is also known as ‘Allow Alao’ for the PDP’s candidate, Engr. Seyi Makinde. Despite the open and media declaration for the opposition party, Alamu still goes around parading himself as the state Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party.
The Acting Chairman’s grouse was the decision of the electoral body to release the party’s agents’ tags to the impostor (Alamu) when it was an open secret that AD did not have presidential candidate in this year’s election and only contested just a Senatorial seat in the penultimate Saturday’s election.
Again, the politician, who after the intervention of the party’s national body earlier this week took position as the acting Chairman in the state and upon which the electoral body in the state handed over to him the agents’ tags belonging to the party noted that the usage of the tags earlier used for the previous election should not have been allowed for today’s (Saturday) election.
Reacting however to the allegation, the INEC spokesperson in the state, Mr. Ayodele Folami described impersonation as a serious electoral crime which should attract sanction, adding that those detected to have impersonated should have been handed over to the security agents.
According to him, “we don’t know anybody. It is a serious offence to impersonate. Anybody caught should be handed over to the police for necessary action”.
The statement further stated that:
“From Idere in Ibarapa North Local Government area of the state alleged various attempts by some personalities (names withheld) working for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to snatch ballot boxes.
“A chieftain of AD and a community leader in Ibarapa zone of the state, Elder Sunday Salako, who spoke with our reporter on phone disclosed that the APC chieftain, in connivance with a traditional ruler were moving round the ancient town to molest and harass people.
“He explained that just as the APC sympathizers were moving round to snatch ballot boxes, the voters were proving too difficult for them as they were resisting them. The community leader said he, at a point was arrested by security agents (the police) on the allegation that he was a security threat.
“According to him, “as I’m speaking with you, I have just been released by the police after my initial arrest on trump up allegation of being a security threat simply because of my resistance to open day attempted electoral robbery. I have not even voted as I’m talking with you.
“I just want the whole world to know what is going on in our area and equally appeal to our people not to cave in under threat or any form of intimidation. We must not be deterred to ensure that our electoral wishes are allowed to manifest and be respected”, the statement quoted him as saying.