The Ogun State police command has submitted its report on a petition by the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Inspector-General of Police, detailing possible misuse of the state’s poverty alleviation gift cards to perpetrate vote buying, electoral violence and ballot box snatching during the March 18 governorship election in the State.
The 35-page report obtained by Cityvoice and dated Wednesday, August 2, contains statements by 43 people, including the state leaders of the APC and PDP, aide to governor Dapo Abiodun, officials of the card company (One Card Top Up) and several members of both parties from across the state. .
Cityvoice recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu had petitioned the Inspector General of Police to investigate Abiodun and APC, accusing them of vote buying, electoral violence and voters’ intimidation during last governorship election in the state.
Adebutu and PDP, in the petition, accused Abiodun of using N3billion of state fund to induce voters and thugs to disrupt elections in several parts of the state. The petition was thereafter referred to the Ogun command for investigation.
The Ogun police, in the report, said as part of its investigation, it arrested some of the suspected thugs allegedly hired by the APC to cause chaos and disrupt elections at polling units where the party was not doing well.
The police report, titled: “Police Investigation Report on Case of Breach of Electoral Act 2022 Through Vote Buying, Snatching And Destruction of Ballot Papers and Boxes, Thuggery And Causing Harm To Voters In Ogun State” said, the suspects confessed their roles in the disruption of the election.
One of the suspected thugs, identified as Sanu Jamiu, according to the report, confessed to the police that he and 15 others were employed by one Efuje, said to be an ally of Abiodun, from Iperu-Remo area of the state to cause mayhem during the election.
The report further revealed that Jamiu and his gangs were said to have been paid N50,000 to disrupt the election.
Also, one Seun Samuel, according to the report, allegedly confessed that he was hired by one Hon. Damilola Kayode Soneye representing Obafemi Owode Federal constituency to work for APC as a ballot box snatcher during the governorship election.
The police report quoted Jamiu saying: “In the month of February, 2023, one EFUJE a.k.a Alhaji who was once a councilor in ward 5, Iperu-Remo and an APC member, invited him to work as a political thug for Prince (Dr) Dapo Abiodun for the period of election and promised a handsome compensation. In addition, he states that he was in a group of about sixteen thugs contracted by the said EFUJE and they were all given fifty thousand naira (#50,000:00k) to share before the presidential elections when he first met with EFUJE.
“The group of 16 was led by one Kehinde a.k.a ALARA. During the 2023 presidential elections, Efuje, on behalf of Governor Dapo Abiodun, instructed the thugs that each polling unit should be manned by three thugs such that there will be no incidence of ballot box snatching.
“However, on 18th March 2023, during the Gubernatorial elections, Efuje called at about 7am and instructed the thugs to move around all the polling units and observe the trend of elections.
“At about 3pm of same day, Efuje called back stating that the PDP was winning elections at St. John primary school ward 5 and instructed that they should move there and cause mayhem, snatch the ballot boxes and destroy them which they did immediately.
“He states that they arrived the aforementioned polling unit on motorcycle, caused violence, snatched the ballot box and took it to Ansarudeen primary school, Powerline area of Iperu-Remo where they emptied the ballot papers from the box and also destroyed the ballot box before they left.
“Lastly, Sanu Jamiu states clearly that he knows that Efuje takes directives directly from Governor Dapo Abiodun before passing same to the thugs to act”, the report quoted Jamiu to have said.
According to the report, the state APC Chairman, Chief Yemi Sanusi denied allegations of violence, saying he did not know any of the thugs mentioned in the petition.
The report quoted Sanusi as saying, “Being the Chairman of the party and also mentioned in the petition, he stated that having perused the petition against his person, he doesn’t know anything about the allegations leveled against him by the petitioner. That he voted at Alagbaa village, Orile-ilugun, Odeda local Government Area where he did not give anyone money, there was no ballot box snatching nor were there crises in all the local governments”.
The report also revealed that several of the witnesses were beneficiaries of the State Social Investment Programme with top-up cards, but it stated that the police could not ascertain that the cards (in N5000 and N10,000) were meant to sway voters to vote for the APC as some of the witnesses claimed.
“That contrary to the claims of some of the witnesses brought by the PDP…their claims of vote buying cannot be substantiated as they were unable to mention the POS agents that were alleged to have converted the cards to cash for them,” it reads in parts
It also stated that: “The APC presented witnesses and beneficiaries who received the top-up cards prior to the 2023 General elections as part of the Social Investment Programme, thereby confirming that the top-up cards were utilised for the Ogun State Social Investment program, the PDP in its own strength as well, presented witnesses who claimed that the top-up cards were given to them to canvass for their votes.”
The report, prepared by Mr Mohammed Babakura (Deputy Commissioner of Police for the Criminal Investigation Department) for the Commissioner of Police, also noted that:
“From the statement of Seun Samuel and also his statement of account as provided, it shows a series of transactions originating from Hon Soneye (APC stalwart) account to the values of N50,000, N25,000 and another N50,000 dated 3rd February 2023, 28th February 2023 and 20th March 2023 respectively, suggesting possibility of inducement for disruption of election activities.”
It also stated that a “Bankers Order has been set in motion to enable Access Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc where the Ogun State government accounts are domiciled, to give us facts and figures about the transactions with One Card.”