FAYEMI, FAYOSE CALL FOR PROBE AS SOLDIERS IMPOUND TRUCK LOADED WITH ELECTION MATERIALS IN EKITI •THEY’RE WASTE MATERIALS —INEC

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Days to the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State, soldiers from the 32nd Brigade of the Nigerian Army, on Thursday, arrested a truck loaded with ballot papers, ink pads, stamps, reflective vests and a number of other election materials.
The truck, with Lagos registration number APP 952 XL, was driven by Olufemi Ose and had Segun Akanbi, whom Ose described as his conductor and Biodun Erinfolami, whom he also said was his driver-friend, onboard, with Ose saying they were travelling to Lagos.
The commander of the 32nd Artillery Brigade, Akure, Brigadier-General Aliyu Momoh, who briefed newsmen on the arrest, said his men intercepted the truck as it was being driven out of the state at about 1.30 p.m on Thursday.
He said occupants of the vehicle were not giving coherent answers to questions that related to the goods they were conveying and noted that since an election was at hand in Ekiti State, “we are here to ensure that everything goes smoothly and part of doing that is to be vigilant.”
He said some of the materials were found to be used ballot papers of 2008, 2009 and 2011, as well as rubber stamps which bear 2014.
He said his men were ready to carry out their duty of ensuring adequate security for the election and warned that they would not tolerate any unlawful act.
“You don’t need guns to vote. All you need is your voter cards and your thumbs. We will bring down anyone we find with any offensive weapon,” he said.
While explaining that “soldiers are not in Ekiti State for any political party,” he added that his men had been deployed in all parts of the state and had been properly briefed on what to do, warning that anyone who breached the peace in the course of the election would “be dealt with, no matter his status.”
Momoh said the suspects and the vehicles would be handed over to the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), saying what the soldiers could do were preliminary investigations following which, he said, he had briefed newsmen.
The driver of the vehicle, Ose, who spoke on behalf of the other suspects, explained that he was in Ado-Ekiti as a representative of a haulage firm, pointing out that his truck was the second of such that had loaded similar materials earlier on Thursday.
According to him, he loaded the materials from INEC secretariat in Ado Ekiti, saying he was given a waybill for the cargo and he was conveying the materials to Lagos.
Reacting to the development, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Hussaini Halilu Pai, said the materials were waste papers from their store, which the commission’s headquarters had approved for auction.
Alhaji Pai said the materials had been approved for sale by the national headquarters of INEC to a private firm since April, adding that they had only come to convey the materials on Thursday.
“They are obsolete materials in our store which had been approved for auction by the national headquarters, to enable us to have space in the store,” Pai stated, adding that “they (the company) are known to us and they are in no way connected to this election and they are materials of 2007 and 2009.”
On why the materials were conveyed late and unaccompanied by security operatives, the Ekiti REC said he wouldn’t know why it took the company long to move the items, adding that he did not see the need for security operatives to accompany the “waste materials.”
Reacting, the Kayode Fayemi campaign organisation and the Ayo Fayose campaign organisation called for a thorough investigation into the controversy surrounding the intercepted voting materials in Ekiti State.
Fayemi campaign organisation, in a statement made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, by its spokesperson, Dimeji Daniels, said “though INEC claims they were wastes, which auction was sanctioned by its national commission, it remains curious that 2014 stamps were found among the materials.”
Daniel urged security agencies “to be on the lookout for agents of rigging, who are bent on reversing the progress that has been witnessed under the Fayemi-led administration.”
He claimed that “APC does not have the culture of rigging,” adding that “we know many plans are being put in motion and hatched by the opposition to rig this election, because the opposition knows it is not popular and not on the ground at all.
“This is why no stone should be left unturned in preventing agents of retrogression from taking Ekiti back 100 years like they did between 2003 and 2006.”
In a statement signed on behalf of Fayose campaign organisation by its Director General, Chief Dipo Anisulowo, Fayose said “it is curious that two commissioners in the state swiftly rushed to where the truck was arrested to intervene and get it freed with the occupants.”
Fayose, who commended the soldiers for refusing the overtures of the two commissioners, demanded that “there must be no cover-up of this heinous crime.
“Since the vehicle is marked, the public must know who the owner of Adewole F. Odunayo Enterprises is; those behind the production of the ballot papers; their possible collaborators in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the purpose for which the ballot papers were produced.
“We are also interested in the motive behind the visit to the scene of arrest by two state commissioners and the reasons the state deputy governor, Professor Modupe Adelabu, rushed to the Army Base, where the fake ballot papers in the truck were being off-loaded.”
Source: Tribune

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