By Sodiq Lawal
Politics in the ancient city of Yoruba land, Ile Ife, State of Osun has become a do- or-die affair where the only rule of the game is survival of the fittest, regardless of crudeness or brutality. Ballot
boxes are snatched, voters and security agents maimed and killed, riotous protests, arson, armed gangs of thugs, soldiers and police using coercion to force people to vote for their benefactors and
polling booth officials maimed or killed.
The extent and level of violence in elections especially in Ile Ife is enough to have the elections cancelled since they were not in any respect free and fair. Elections in Ile Ife has also been marred by
various forms of election malpractices ranging from double or multiple registration,.deliberate late arrival of election materials by electoral officials, stuffing/snatching of ballot boxes, destruction
or hijacking of electoral materials, harassment and intimidation by armed groups, falsification of results, delay in announcing results with no satisfactory explanation etc..These practices logically
result in violent conflicts and clashes.
Saturday, the Local Government Parliamentary Elections was held in some wards in the State of Osun with the Ife Axis going to the polls in 52 wards. The announcement of the results of the poll result in Ile Ife was followed by a paroxysm of bloodletting. It was gathered that an accord party aspirant, Adedeji
Olawale Iremo 2, Ile Ife and his fellow political thugs stormed the house of an APC sympathiser to kill him. Unfortunately for him, he was the one that was butchered. He sustained several injuries before the
matter was taken to the Police.
Violence erupted in Iremo, Ilare, Ilode, Orita-Fogo and some areas after the election. Some aggrieved party supporters engaged one another in a free-for-all midway after the election, scores of
delegates and others fled in different directions as a result of the fracas, even as some were injured. Party agents were also attacked by thugs but security officials later forced them out of the grip of the
angry PDP thugs and whisked them away.
I have lamented for so long. It has no doubt. Political thugs in the ancient city are causing violence every day. It will be sad to believe that majority of thugs in Ile Ife are being sponsored by PDP. They
mobilize unemployed youths as vital violent arsenals. The youths are induced to threaten or unleash violence as a means to achieve electoral and political success. Electoral violence in Ile Ife is
induced by financial, ethnic or religious considerations.
Also, the lack of adequate knowledge or information on politics, particularly electoral processes, coupled with low level of education, the high level of deprivation and impoverishment of the youths in Ile Ife force many to take the readily available ‘job opportunity’.
The said politicians are responsible for arming the youths, who mostly are political thugs to manipulate electoral outcomes, kidnap or kill political opponents, threaten and intimidate electorates, destroying
lives and properties, as electoral processes are disrupted.