…TMG identifies violence-prone areas
…CSO wants security agents to prosecute
…PDP accuses APC, Fayemi of importing fake policemen, ballot papers
Ekiti people will today elect a new governor at the poll for the next four years. Though 35 political parties were accredited for the election by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), only two major political parties were the focus of the people of Ekiti for the election.
The two political parties are the All Progressives Congress (APC) where we have Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who hails from Ishan Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area of the state as its candidate just as we also have Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka from Ikere Ekiti as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the poll.
A total number of 4, 390 combined forces of soldiers and other paramilitary has been deployed to complement the 30,000 policemen that have been drafted to Ekiti to monitor the election.
Also a total of 913, 334 have been registered by the INEC out of which 667,064 voters had collected their PVCs, just as the INEC recorded a total of 246,270 unclaimed PVCs that were yet to be collected by owners for the election.
Both the police and the INEC have declared that they were 100 percent ready to conduct free, fair, acceptable, and credible election that will produce the people mandate.
Meanwhile, an election monitoring group, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), has identified various violence prone areas in the state.
The group also bemoaned what it called over deployment of security agents to the state for the purpose of the poll.
The flashpoints identified, according to the group, include Ikere Ekiti, Oye Ekiti, Ire Ekiti and Efon Alaaye.
In Ado Ekiti, the state capital, areas like Ajilosun, Atikankan, Odo Ado, Mathew, Ogbon Ado, and Ijigbo were also identified s flash points.
Addressing newsmen on Friday in Ado Ekiti, the TMG chairperson, Abiola Akiyode- Afolabi, said the areas are noted for violence during election in the past.
Afolabi, who spoke alongside the Southwest Coordinator of the group, Sulaiman Argbagbu, however, called on all stakeholders to support peaceful and credible election in the state.
She said the identification became necessary for civil society organisations, security agencies and other relevant agencies to beam their searchlight on the areas.
“Traditionally, there are huge concentration of people who usually gathered in these areas.
“It is for civil society organisations and security agencies to concentrate their attention on the areas in other to reduce violence”.
On the security deployed in the state for the purpose of the election, Afolabi said over-policing of the poll may discourage many voters from participating in the election.
She said: “In a state as fragile as Ekiti, it is expedient that the gubernatorial election is done in a manner that ensures safety of lives and property, knowing fully that Nigeria in recent times has suffered preventable loss of lives and property, this election should therefore not add to the number of deaths already recorded.
“The level of tension in Ekiti State at present is high and a direct threat to voter turn out, the credibility of the process and the peaceful conduct of the election.
“TMG is also worried about the overwhelming deployment of police personnel for Ekiti Election. This is clear indication that politicians have not learnt their lesson from past experiences.
Over deployment of security agent and political violence or threat of violence are vicious cycle that undermine credibility of the electoral process, intimidate the electorate and result in poor voters’ turnout”.
The group, however, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the election is free, fair and conclusive and that the election materials be deployed on time at the polling units to avoid voters being apprehensive.
She said TMG will continue to support the government, Nigerian citizens and civil societies groups to ensure good governance is entrenched in Nigeria through responsible leadership.
Also, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Situationroom, has appealed to the security agencies that would monitor today’s election to arrest and prosecute whoever seen buying votes from the electorate.
The body commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies on the peaceful and orderly manners with which sensitive materials that would be deployed for the conduct of the poll were distributed on Friday.
Situationroom coalition consists of credible CSOs like Cleen Foundation, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Police and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), among others.
Briefing newsmen in Ado Ekiti during its first preliminary on the Ekiti governorship election, the Chairman of the Coalition, Clement Nwankwo, said the menace of monetised politics should be tackled in the country to sanitise the electoral system.
He urged security agencies to shun act of intimidation on the day of election to prevent apathy and that the 30,000 personnel deployed in Ekiti must be evenly spread to ensure safety cross all the towns and villages.
“We have made recommendations to the security agencies on how to tackle vote buying. It is a serious electoral offence that must not be allowed in our country.
“So, our security must be up and doing and remain committed to the success of this poll”, he advised.
Nwankwo commended the security agencies for sustaining peace on the eve of the election, describing this as a sign that the election will be order and credible.
He observed that “the political parties must conduct themselves in a manner that does not encourage violence by their supporters, as they will be held liable for their activities that trigger violence.
“We call on the security agencies, including Army, police and other arms to assure election observers and electorate of their personal safety and urges voters to go out and peacefully to cast their votes in exercise of their constitutional rights to be part of democratic process.
“We reiterate that all elections must demonstrate the highest possible commitment from the security services to support INEC in completing its constitutional role of organizing credible elections that can inspired continued public confidence,” Nwankwo said.
Also, ahead of today’s Ekiti governorship election, the PDP has alerted that the APC and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, are clothing thugs imported from Imo and states neighbouring to Ekiti, with fake police uniform to unleash terror on voters.
The party also alerted of an alleged collusion between officials of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Plc and top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to print matching sensitive voting materials including ballot papers with similar serial numbers to enable scientific rigging of the election for the APC.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged plots by the APC to use the compromised policemen to offer each voter N10,000 at polling centres to vote for the APC.
“Furthermore, the PDP questions why the police personnel detailed to Governor Ayo Fayose have been stripped to five while invading APC governors, such as Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, are individually allowed to move around the state with squads of over 50 policemen and soldiers.
“The PDP is already aware of plots to detail the fake policemen to PDP strongholds to harass voters, attempt to cause confusion, and in the process smuggle in counterfeit result sheets to aid their planned declaration of false results.
“Our party also knows how the duplicate ballot papers were produced with the recently installed SDD German Machine in the Lagos factory under direct supervision of some officials (names withheld) who are to deliver them to Dr. Fayemi.
“What the APC and Dr. Fayemi do not know is that we have been monitoring their movements and we have the identity and scheduling of the fake policemen as well as details of the couriers and movement of the duplicitous ballot papers.
“They do not know that we already discovered the security errors in the fake police uniforms and we have adequately made such known to the people of Ekiti State, who are now fully rallied to expose the impostors and directly bring them to book with every intensity and energy available in a democracy”, said Ologbondiyan.
Consequently, the PDP cautioned the ‘fake policemen’ and the ‘couriers of the duplicitous ballot papers’ to note that nobody will come to their rescue when they face the wrath of the people.
The party said the recent invasion of the state and manhandling of Governor Ayo Fayose has toughened the people in their resolve to defend their will with every legitimate tool within the ambit of the law.
The PDP therefore cautioned INEC officials, electoral observers and security personnel in the election to ensure a free, fair and credible election as the people of Ekiti State will never accept any results that do not directly reflect their already known will in this election.