Ekiti State chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Olajide Awe and 14 other petitioners from the state Tuesday testified before the army panel sitting in Kaduna and set up to investigate the involvement of military in the 2014/2015 gubernatorial elections in Ekiti, Osun, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states.
Although the APC state chairman testified in the presence of the media, when it was the turn of the Ekiti State Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Tope Aluko to testify, he pleaded to be heard behind closed doors and the panel members obliged him for security reasons.
The General Officer Commanding, GOC, One-Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, who is also the president of the panel, Maj-Gen. Adeninyi Oyebade, had on November 9, inaugurated the panel on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai at the division’s headquarters in Kaduna.
The GOC had said based on the weighty allegations against the Army in those elections, the COAS, whose vision was to reposition the army professionally in accordance with its statutory mandate, instituted the panel.
Major General Oyebade said the authority was deeply concerned about the alleged misconduct of officers and men before, during and after the elections.
But, while testifying, the Ekiti APC State chairman, Awe told the panel that the role of soldiers in the June 2014 gubernatorial election in Ekiti was better imagined than real because according to him it was more of a battle field between the soldiers and the voters.
He alleged that before the election, party bigwigs, including the then Rivers State governor and now Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, was prevented from entering the state for the party’s rally, while the Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole was grounded in Benin on the order of the powers-that-be.
He also alleged that over N30 million meant for party agents and election works were confiscated by some soldiers, whose identity, particularly their name tags, he said were concealed with black bands.
Awe disclosed how no fewer than 36,000 security personnel invaded the state on the eve of the governorship election, harassed and arrested its party leaders, members and supporters as well.
The APC chieftain told the panel that there was no election in the state, noting that the then governor and now Minister of the Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi accepted the outcome of that election for peace to reign in the state.
He said while he objected to accepting the outcome of the poll, the then Governor Fayemi replied that “look if we say we cannot accept the election result, we will put the lives of our people in danger.”
Awe added that “he (governor) accepted the result in the name of peace. Some of this did not go down well with our people. We took the decision to accept the result for the sake of peace in the state.”
Asked by the President of the panel, Maj.Gen Adeniyi Oyebade whether there was a report of killing by the Army during the election, the chairman said there was none.
He, however, said that in his village alone, several houses were razed, 15 vehicles destroyed while several people were kidnapped until after the election.
“Some of these people that were kidnapped were later found at Shagamu (Abeokuta) with bruises on their bodies.
Awe also fingered the operatives of the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police Force in the party’s misfortunes in the Ekiti governorship election, saying that the “DSS did a lot havoc because they were the ones that are close to the people.”
Awe said, “Prior to the June 22, 2014 governorship elections in Ekiti State, we were excited when told that the Army will be involved in maintaining peace in the state. A week or so when the Army arrived, our expectation was short-lived.
“Nearly all major roads in Ekiti were blocked by the military. The stop and search was beyond what it should be. Money meant for the party agents and other logistics were taken by soldiers”.

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