Daily Independent Online.
Monday, April 14, 2003.
probe alleged hijack of ballot boxes on Lagos Island
By Oguwike Nwachukwu
Daily Independent, Lagos
Police in Lagos have started probing the alleged hijack of
three ballot boxes in the Lagos Island following different complaints they
received from supporters of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP) senatorial candidates during last weeks’ election.
Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, a major supporter of Dr. Wahab
Dosunmu, a PDP senatorial candidate, had pointed fingers at AD’s senatorial candidate, Mr. Musiliu
Obanikoro, informing the police that the latter’s supporters hijacked
three ballot boxes from two centres on Lagos Island.
During the alleged attempt to hijack the boxes, there was a
free-for-all fight which led to several party supporters and the police being
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Adeniji
Adele Central Police Station, Mr. Adesoi Oyeyipo, a Superintendent of Police
(SP) was also reported injured during the fracas, just as one Balogun Akolede,
who claimed to be a staff of the Lagos Island Local Council was arrested by the
police for being in possession of a ballot box.
Adeniji-Adele specifically told the Lagos State Commissioner
of Police team of observers that Obanikoro’s supporters hijacked the
However, the police directed him to make written statement
at the Adeniji-Adele Police Station over the issue while efforts should be made
to get to the root of the alleged claim.
But in a swift reaction, Obanikoro, who spoke to Daily
Independent accused Adeniji-Adele, Mrs. Remi Olajumoke and
the police of collusion to remove the ballot boxes at some designated centres
on the Island, particularly Ward C1 on Imaro Street.
“I would want the DPO to tell me where I took the so
called boxes. I am told that Mrs. Olajumoke and Adeniji-Adele went to the place
and created sme problems, but the agents who wanted to protect boxes resisted
“When I got to the place, the police, Adeniji-Adele
and Olajumoke were carrying some boxes already. And I would want a
clarification from the DPO because they went there at the instance of
Adeniji-Adele and Olajumoke. It is a case of giving dog a bad name to hang it.
“I am quite surprised that Adeniji-Adele could have
said such a thing. If he did, I have lost total respect for him because I can
never, in my life, envisage a situation where somebody of his calibre will fabricate
such a lie against my person.
“I am a member of Ward C1 in Isale Eko while he is of
the B1 in Isale Eko. The closest I could have gone is to walk through Igudugoro
Road,” he said, adding that “for any person to say I was there is
unfair and if I am confronted officially, I will respond.
Arabamen who described the exercise as “generally
successful” said he was satisfied with the security situation.
Confirming the injury, which the DOP suffered, he said it
was part of the hazards the police go through while discharging their duties.
On the number of persons so far arrested by the police,
Arabamen said he was yet to receive the reports.
But it was learnt that
six persons were detained on Lagos Island, Ikorodu and Mushin