Subscribe Now

Trending News

By using this website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

#EkitiDecides: Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Observer Diary

Like many young journalists, I signed up as an election observer with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) to participate in the Ekiti gubernatorial election that was held on Saturday the 18th of June 2022.

It was a moment I’ve always envisaged participating and contributing to the campaign for free and fair elections in this country. To note and identify problems voters encounter and the effect of vote-buying but I never thought that I would be a victim of security operatives’ harassment at any time.

How My Journey Started

Myself and Tobi Akintunde were both deployed to Irepodun Ifelodun LGA on Thursday, 16th June 2022 and then we proceeded on Friday for our pre-electoral assignment.

Irepodun Ifelodun LGA has some important political figures from the top three political parties in the state. Two former Governors, Ayodele Fayose and Niyi Adebayo from Afao-Ekiti and Iyin-Ekiti respectively, and the current Senator representing Ekiti Central senatorial district, Mr Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele, also from Iyin-Ekiti and former Commissioner for Fiscal policy, Mr Lanre Fasuan from Afao-Ekiti.

At 7 am on Saturday, I began my observation work at a Community Primary School, Iworoko, Irepodun Ifelodun LGA where all electoral materials were transferred from Igede overnight.

Having gone around polling units across Iworoko-Ekiti to ensure electoral materials were evenly distributed and voters were accredited, I resumed to PU 004 where voting started at 8:40 am.


There were traces of vote-buying at polling units I visited during the election. At PU 004, I saw a Person With Disability (PWD) help his aged mother cast her vote but made the aged woman’s decision public so the APC party agent could see who she voted for. Another scenario was an elder statesman in that community doing the same. The Police officer at the PU corrected him but was ignored.

At PU 017, I also observed a sparsely populated voting centre where family members, who ironically are party agents for different parties engage in disagreement over electoral money.

Priorities for the Elderly and Pregnant Women

In Ward 09, PU 004, a man vehemently disagreed that there are provisions in the Electoral Act that allows priority voting rights to senior citizens – underscoring a need for more sensitisation for voters in this regard.

But as I proceed to Afao-Ekiti, my observation task soon coalesced into a journey of a Daniel venturing into a Lion’s Den.

Afao-Ekiti; The Lion’s Den

On getting to Afao-Ekiti at 10;51 am, I went to Ward 01, PU 004 to observe the ongoing voting exercise. Disorderliness was the best description of what I saw as there were clear disregards for COVID-19 measures.

At Fayose’s polling unit – ward 01, PU 001, a fight broke out among voters over queuing leading to pandemonium and causing the voting exercise to be suspended for some minutes. The video of this event which surfaced online became the reason for my arrest by DSS operatives.

Harassment of an Observer

I began to ponder what my offence was as the first slap landed on my face. I was subsequently dragged to a Hilux Toyota van packed at the entrance of Ward 01, PU 001, Ayodele Fayose’s polling unit that fateful afternoon by gun-carrying DSS operatives comprising four men and a woman before I was whisked to St. Emerald hotel in Afao-Ekiti.

It was then that I realised I was in for serious business with the security operatives.

While questioning them for seizing my phone, I got a second slap strong enough to dislodge the Oraimo earphones I was wearing. It flew off my ears to the floor. I screamed! This was in the of presence Mr Lanre Fasuan, the former Commissioner for Fiscal Policy.

One of the DSS operatives asked: “Are you a journalist? Did you attend NIJ? Are you truly a Journalist? All these bloggers sha,” he concluded, while another was asking for my ID card.

“My grandfather used to be a Journalist and he wasn’t like you,” he bluffed.

Another DSS operative landed the third slap on my face saying “Even your boss, Sowore, we picked him. Who are you?”

After the harassment by the DSS operatives, I summoned the courage to confront Mr Lanre Fasuan that the video I was being harassed over was sent way before they saw it and that if anything happens to me he will be held responsible. He began to beg the DSS operatives to stop beating me.

They threatened to take me to where I won’t be seen or be able to make calls.
They scolded me for the use of Fayose’s name as a caption claiming it has caused an uproar on Social media.

“Ekiti Guber Election: Pandemonium at Former Governor, Ayo Fayose’s Polling Unit over queuing.”

But was that not Fayose’s polling unit I asked? One of the DSS officials responded that what they did was to rescue me from the mob that would have lynched me but there I was getting slapped by my supposed protectors.

After spending over 30 minutes at St. Emerald hotel, they decided to move me to Iworoko police station. This was around 2:18 pm.

On getting to the place, I observed a bus full of DSS operatives. At that moment, I began to shiver in my heart, reconsidering again if I actually did wrong for sending the video of my observation for publication as earlier alleged by one of the Policewomen I was handed over to at Iworoko.

To my mind, reporting violence at a PU shouldn’t be a reason for any observer to be physically and verbally harassed. In the least, even suspects of crimes reserve the right to be treated with some respect.

At the entrance of the Police Station while trying to call the Managing Editor of PremiumTimes, Idris Akinbajo, one of the new DSS operatives, hit me with an iron rod. I screamed so loud that Mr Idris could hear me on the phone.

Eventually, the DSS operatives handed me over to the police at Iworoko-Ekiti police division around 2:20 pm and I was stripped of everything before I was dumped into the cell about 10 minutes after.

Before I was sent to the police cell, a policewoman who said she was present at Afao-Ekiti verbally harassed me and threatened that I will go to jail. This Police Officer and her colleague – Ruth Adebayo – who both documented my belongings said that I’m rude and a nobody.

One of the things I observed at the Police Station as well as my engagement with other security operatives was how they infantilised me. They clearly disregarded and treated me so condescendingly because of my age and small stature. I believe they could have displayed more professionalism in the course of handling the issue. They referred to me as a ‘yeye journalist’ but were enraged when I used the term ‘you guys’ in addressing them.

In the unpleasant cell where I was kept for about 30 minutes, I opined that one of the reasons people hurriedly confess to crimes they never committed could be because of the loneliness in the shallow room.

I thought again if I was wrong about sharing the video but I quickly erased it from my mind.

Five minutes after I had left the cell, to sit at the counter, I was handed my phone. It was that time I knew I had gone viral on social media.

I had also put a call through to Mr Taiwo Adebulu whom I had earlier met at Governor Ayo Fayose and he managed to join me at the station minutes later.

The DPO, Mr Emmanuel Abang finally arrived while I was sitting at the counter. He offered me a sit in his office as I narrated my ordeal in the hands of the DSS and activities before I was whisked by them. I thanked him after my discharge and proceeded to the counter to grab my things. Mr Taiwo Adebulu guided me out of the Police Station to meet Mrs Ajibola, Mr Mboho and Nicholas, who had also arrived at the station.

It was a sad realisation that security operatives do not respect citizens of the country, especially journalists and election observers who partner with them in the business of promoting social security by sharing information with the public.

After my release from Iworoko police station (1)
After my release from Iworoko police station (1)


DISCLAIMER: This story has been published on Campus Reporter with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved.