Oba-Akoko with a total of 10,632 voter registrants located along Ikare-Owo road in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State is a peace-loving community. Our constituency comprises of 7 wards, and except Ikun-Akoko, Oba, Akungba and Supare has two wards each.
The two wards of Oba are ward 14 and ward 15. And out of the 14units of ward 14, only 8 are located within the town. The remaining 6 are located in the suburbs out of which Ose-Oba has four (4). This makes Ose-Oba a bride to every political party and their candidate during elections. Oba-Akoko unfortunately witnessed a sad incident during the State House of Assembly election held on the 9th of March, 2019, which led to the State Government declaring a total shutdown of the community on the said election day and it took three days for the curfew to be reviewed and lifted.
NARRATION OF THE EVENT THAT OCCURRED.
At around 2pm on Saturday 9th of March while the House of Assembly election was on, Hon. Victor Adekanye Olabimtan from Supare Akoko – a town of about 12km away was seen in Oba, dressed in a white native with his black Toyota jeep – registration number OD10ZED.
He stopped briefly at unit 03 (Post Office) ward 14, but not too long after, he headed straight to Ose-Oba. Before his arrival, it is noteworthy that Hon. Dapo Faseesin, a close ally of Olabimtan from Oba-Akoko had been in Ose since the early hours of the day engaging in vote-buying for the All Progressives Congress, APC – an action that resulted in hot altercation between him and leaders of the opposition parties in Ose, most especially the ADC’s.
When he arrived at Ose, he, Olabimtan asked INEC ad hoc staff he met on duty to hurry up and get their loads into their buss for he had come to protect the votes in their custodies. This sounded strange to the electorate around because he was not known to be a staff member of the commission. Suspicions also rose in the minds of party members most especially because he had at different times in the past, like 2003 and 2007 carted away with ballot boxes from Oba-Akoko during elections. And this was the same method he usually employed.
Fortunately, while the same feeling was being nursed by people within Oba township who saw him when heading for Ose-Oba, they started receiving calls that Hon. Olabimtan had forcefully taken the INEC staff with their sensitive materials and was already returning with his convoy, as such, some youths went to barricade the road leading to Ose in an attempt to nab him with the materials should their impression become real. Alas! When Olabimtan appeared, he came in a retinue of Toyota Hilux cars (that were not in his convoy while going through Oba to Ose) loaded with gunmen. Immediately they sighted the youths at the barricade, they began to fire gunshots.
This sporadic shooting continued while Olabimtan commuted swiftly through the town and got everybody running for safety. He was seen personally holding a pistol and firing shots from the side window of his car. The police officers expected to waylay him appeared to have compromised as they aided his convoy to move unstopped against all attempts by the youths who were throwing stones on their way to ensure Olabimtan and his thugs were nabbed with the sensitive electoral materials.
Before the shooting lasted, tear-gases released by policemen/thugs rented the atmosphere and a visually impaired young man, Audu Ayo, who couldn’t scamper for safety as a result of the effect of the teargas was shot dead at Owa Odo by a soldier. Some people got bullets on their legs or buttocks while several others sustained varying degrees of injuries. Sadly, within the next 48hours after the incident, three old people – Mrs. Clara Oriti, Mrs. Dejumo Wewe and Mr. Lawal Alidu had died of teargas suffocation.
The following reasons are fervently canvassed here as the immediate causes of the unfortunate and avoidable incident of 9th March, 2019.
1. The system of vote-buying employed by leaders of APC like Hon. Dapo Faseesin at the various polling units in Oba-Akoko in order to buy the consciences of the voting public.
2. The invasion of Oba-Akoko polling units by Rt. Hon. Victor Olabimtan with armed thugs with subsequent cartage of sensitive election materials, denying the agents of other political parties to have their unit results recorded.
3. The obvious compromise of men of the Nigeria Police Force deployed to man the election units while Olabimtan was flagrantly violating the rules of our Electoral Act.
4. The highly provoking perception that Olabimtan came to fool/rob our people with fake soldiers as some of them were seen with full beards, wore sandals/tennis and tied red handkerchiefs around their elbows as against the known and acceptable culture of the Nigeria Army.
1. The unresolved crisis that has for more than a year polarized the ruling party, APC, where a faction (popularly known as Team Aketi) loyal to the Governor has been alleged to have often fostered their whimsical desires on the general party members without recourse to the aftermath effects of such actions and decisions.
2. The perpetual invasion of Oba-Akoko by Hon. Victor Adekanye Olabimtan during elections which often prevent the people of our town from freely choosing candidates of their choice. This happened in 2003, 2004 & 2007 as earlier stated.
3. The refusal of Hon. Faseesin to share the mobilisation fees sent by the Governor for election in ward 14 with other members of the party in the ward, but instead, left his polling unit for Ose-Oba where he was grossly engaged in vote-buying and humiliation of members of other political parties.
We recommend at this stage that political leaders should begin to lead by example and that the interests and welfare of the ruled be prioritized in order to have easy command over the electorate during elections. And political leaders, even though they have preferences, should be fair and just to all factions within their parties at all times and seasons.
Our utmost prayer is that our Governor, being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria will have the political will to do justice to this matter as we anticipate that your committee will look critically into the causes and effects of this ugly scenario and make justifiable recommendations to our Chief Security Officer in Ondo State.
Please accept the assurances of our esteemed regards, honour and loyalty.
The Youth President
For: Oba-Akoko Youth Association.