Agents of the State Security Services (SSS) in Ekiti State have arrested and detained more than 20 suspects they claim to have caught thumb printing ballot papers at a resort owned by the campaign manager to PDP candidate, Ayodele Fayose in Afao Ekiti.
SSS operatives working on a tip off said they met some 22 young people thumb printing ballot papers and preparing form EC8 forms in anticipation of rigging the governorship election scheduled for Saturday June 21 in Ekiti State.
Late today, Dipo Anisulowo, the director general of the Ayo Fayose campaign organization, admitted to SaharaReporters that SSS agents had arrested some guests at a resort he owns. He stated, however, that he believed the people arrested were “cult boys” who attacked some students in Iworoko and Are-Ekiti area.
Pressed further by our correspondent, Mr. Anisulowo said his political camp was aware that their opponents wanted to raid his resort. He claimed to have reported the case to the police.
But our sources said the SSS raided the resort when some mobile police officers detailed to guarding the premises went out to drink. “Our agents caught them red-handed thumb printing and filling out the result forms,” one SSS source said.
Mr. Fayose, a former governor of Ekiti State, was in 2006 forced out of office as a result of his indictment on corruption charges. After emerging as the PDP’s governorship candidate with the full backing of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Fayose is now seeking to unseat incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Earlier today, three private airlifts arrived at the Akure Airport in nearby Ondo State in circumstances that a political source in the state described as unusual. “We believe that the three planes brought in cash [for buying votes and bribing electoral officials in Ekiti State] and ballot papers,” said the source. He added that bullion vans owned by Zenith Bank hauled away the freight brought in by the planes.
The source also claimed that three PDP officials, namely Kingsley Kuku, Musiliu Obanikoro, and the governorship candidate for Osun State, Iyiola Omisore, arrived on the planes. However, SaharaReporters could not independently confirm the presence of the officials at the airport today. However, our correspondent learned that the female airport manager in Akure was issued a query after information was released on the Internet about the arrival of the three mysterious planes.
Two SSS sources confirmed today’s operation. One of them disclosed that SSS operatives were tipped off that some persons at the resort were thumb printing ballot papers and preparing electoral result sheets called EC8 forms. “Our men were able to move in and make arrests,” the source said. Both sources refused to disclose the names of the detained suspects, pleading that the agency has to conclude its investigations. “Please be patient and allow us finish investigating the matter,” one of the sources pleaded.
A source told SaharaReporters that the SSS director in Ekiti State was under intense pressure from Mr. Fayose’s camp to free the arrested suspects. The director switched off his phone as soon as a correspondent of SaharaReporters rang his number. He also did not respond to text messages sent to his phone.
Meanwhile, Mr. Anisulowo told SaharaReporters that he expected that the suspects would be released soon, claiming that their arrest was a case of mistaken identity. He also claimed no ballot materials were present at the resort.
During his tenure as governor, Mr. Fayose was dogged by numerous scandals, including questions about the validity of his academic credentials as well as allegations that his hit squads had murdered several of his political opponents.