For the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), tomorrow’s Ekiti State governorship poll is a litmus test for its preparedness for next year’s general elections. The electoral umpire has promised to conduct a free, fair and credible election.
ALL is set for tomorrow’s governorship election in Ekiti State. The 15 political parties registered to participate in the election in the 16 local government areas by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) closed their campaigns last night.
Going by a regulation by the Electoral Act 2010, parties and candidates must wound up open campaigns 48 hours to the election.
The electoral umpire said that sensitive materials have been dispatched to its offices at the council areas ahead of the isolated election scheduled for 2195 polling units across 177 wards.
According to a data obtained from the Ekiti State office of INEC, 35 contestants are jostling to replace Governor Ayodele Fayose at the Oke Ayoba Government House in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
It said that 667,064 out of the 913, 334 eligible voters in the state collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), leaving 246, 270 PVCs uncollected.
To ensure a free, credible and hitch-free poll, the Police deployed 30,000 of its men. They will be assisted by 4,390 security personnel, including soldiers and para-military officers.
Many have predicted the election as a straight battle between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP is fielding Fayose’s deputy Olusola Eleka and former Solid Mineral Development Minister Kayode Fayemi is APC’s standard bearer at tomorrow’s poll.
Inec distributes sensitive materials
The Resident Electoral Commissioner of the state, Prof. Abdul Ganiy Olayinka Raji said that all the sensitive materials for the election has been delivered to all the 16 local government in the state.
Raji told reporters that the materials were collected at the Central Bank in the presence of all the political parties representatives before they were dispatched to their various destination accompanied by eight senior INEC officials.
According to him, the materials were monitored directly in his office through official vehicle tracker connected to a giant television screen which indicate the movement of the materials until all got to the respective 16 local government headquarters of the state.
The commissioner also confirmed that Ekiti has 913,334 voters out of which 646, 000 collected their PV cards while about 250,000 are yet to collect their cards.
He explained that all the process used by the commission was transparent with the involvement of all the representatives of all the parties participating in the election.
“We have 35 political parties participating in this coming, gubernatorial election, though 40 political parties initially notified us of their participation, but at the last minutes only 35 parties are participating.
He explained that the commission did not face any challenges because the fear of how the sensitive materials will get to the final destination was addressed through improved technology that gave the commission to monitor, track and even listen to all the communication going on in all the vehicles deplored.
He explained that Ekiti is calm and all hands are on deck to conduct credible, fair and free election in the state.
Ooni, British envoy call
for credible election
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi warned the people of Ekiti against acts of violence before and during governorship election, warning that a bloody election would negatively affect other states.
The Co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria made the admonition yesterday at his Ile-Ife palace while hosting the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright.
He specifically urged the youths of the state to refuse to be used as agents of electoral violence and criminality, saying they too have rights to become president and governors in the nearest future.
He said: “What I heard happening in Ekiti state during this electioneering period does not make me happy as their father. Enough of crisis, we do not want any crisis in Yorubaland, where there is violence, progress and tranquility will be deprived, but where there is peace, there is progress.
“I specifically warn all youths in Ekiti State to maintain peaceful coexistence before, during and after the election, as brighter future awaits them if they productively discover themselves.
“Youths must refuse to be used for political violence that would waste their lives, because they too can become governor or President of the country in the neatest future.”
Speaking in the same vein, the visiting British envoy, who doubles as the United Kingdom Chief Observer for the Ekiti governorship election called for free, fair, credible and peaceful election.
He said his mission in Ekiti State is to observe the conduct of Ekiti governorship election which preceds the conduct of the 2019 presidential and other elections by INEC.
The British High Commissioner appealed to all and sundry to remain calm and shun electoral violence, saying crisis cannot add any value to the growth and development of the state.
According to him, the British government has no interest in any party or any candidate, but determined to ensure that the successful conduct of the election without any hitch.
Arkwright tasked all security agencies not to be bias, but to remain independent and maintain peaceful environment across the state for the electorates and the INEC officials.
He expressed further that all other international colleagues will be around to observe the conduct of election tomorrow, urging the indigenes to support the observers and INEC officials for the success of the election.
Ogunwusi told the British envoy that Ile-Ife is the cradle of Yoruba race and the oldest cradle of race in the world.
The monarch lauded him for his compassionate love and maintenance of cordial relationship between the two countries, adding that he has positively contributed to the growth and development of Nigeria.
He acknowledged the efforts of the British government for giving peace a chance in the country, and admonished him to foster further trade relationship that is capable of improving the socio-economic co-existence beteween Nigeria and UK.
Presenting a sovenir to the Ooni, the High Commissioner admmited that Africa is the source of mankind. He described the Ooni as an international bridge builder who is well loved by the British people and the royal family, specifically mentioning Queen Elizerbeth and Prince Charles.
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Author: Our Reporter