Police Command in Ogun State has finally released an investigative report on the allegations of vote-buying and electoral violence levelled against the chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Dapo Abiodun during the March 18 governorship election.
The report, dated Wednesday, August 2, indicted APC and Abiodun of alleged breach of the electoral act 2022.
The report was signed by Mohammed Babakura, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department.
In July, the PDP in Ogun State gave a 72-hour ultimatum to the Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, to release an investigative report of an allegation of vote buying leveled against Abiodun and his party, the APC, during the last election.
The state Chairman of PDP, Sikirulahi Ogundele, gave the ultimatum during a press briefing held at the party’s secretariat in Abeokuta.
In June, Adebutu through his lawyer wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) alleging N3billion financial inducement, electoral violence and intimidation of voters by the APC during the March 18 elections.
The police had also investigated Adebutu on alleged vote buying following a petition written by the APC Chairman, Yemi Sanusi.
But Ogundele told newsmen that while the police had “hurriedly released” an interim report on Adebutu’s probe, they had been silent on the governor’s investigation.
However, the police released its investigative report about one month after the PDP gave the CP an ultimatum.
In the report, Police said 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 in the 35-page 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.
According to the report, one of the suspected thugs, identified as Sanu Jamiu confessed to the police that he and 15 others were employed by one Efuje, an ally of governor Abiodun from Iperu-Remo area of the State to cause mayhem during the election.
The report further revealed that Jamiu and his gangs were paid N50,000 to disrupt the election.
The police also arrested another suspect, identified as Seun Samuel who also confessed that he was hired by 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 nit 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 the same to the thugs to act”, the report quoted Jamiu to have said.
However, the report quoted the APC Chairman to have denied allegations of violence, saying he did not know any of the thugs mentioned in the petition.
“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,” it quoted Sanusi as saying.
On alleged vote-buying, the report said “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.”
Reacting, the Publicity Secretary of APC, Tunde Oladunjoye described allegations against Abiodun and the APC as unsubstantiated.
“The petition by PDP and fugitive Adebutu is as a laughable afterthought, a campaign after elections, containing false allegations that were not even listed in their petition before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
“After failing to get it in through the back door at the Tribunal, they are now touting, marketing and circulating same trite allegations and unwisely citing a police report that actually indicted the PDP, its officials and its defeated candidates as liars who made unsubstantiated allegations against the APC and the Governor.
“The losers are attempting to cry when the head is already off, with the vainglorious hope that they may deceive few media people who are not discerning enough.”