As the people of Ekiti State go to the polls Saturday to elect a new governor that would take over from Governor Ayodele Fayose, on October 16, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has, again, expressed its readiness for the election in Ekiti State, saying the process has started with the distribution of non-sensitive materials for the election.
The commission’s secretariat in Ado Ekiti was, expectedly, a beehive on Thursday as security agents, civil society organisations, officials of the commission and sundry stakeholders, including political party agents were all busy with their various activities.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in Ekiti State, Professor Abdulganiy Raji, said he monitored the distribution of the materials on Thursday and that the agents of the various political parties were satisfied with what the commission did.
Professor Raji announced an innovation introduced by the commission in the distribution of the materials, saying all the vehicles used fir the distribution of the materials “have been installed with tracking device. We are tracking all the vehicles to know wherever they stop. When a vehicle is staying on a spot for too long, say about 10 minutes, it will give us an alarm.
“If we fear any danger, what I’m supposed to do is to click a button here on one of the features in the device, which will place a call to us through the SIM that is in the tracking device. Those in and around the vehicles will not know that we are receiving a call and we will be listening to the conversation around that place. So, if there is danger, we can quickly send security agents there.”
He said the materials were accompanied by senior officials of INEC, “precisely four National Commissioners and five Residential Electoral Commissioners,” saying “each of them accompanied the vehicle to two local governments each. So, that’s what we did with security agencies and all the party agents were involved in the distribution.”
On if there were reported hitches, the Ekiti REC said “since we started the distribution of the materials, we have not reported any hitch. The tracking device had been installed for some weeks now and we have been using it to monitor all our vehicles. Our drivers are not in the know about it until now that we are talking.”
Speaking on the reaction of party agents and their feedback, he said he was with the party agents at the Central Bank, saying “I was there right from the beginning up to the end of the distribution and all we got were positive reports. They were all happy with what we did.”
The REC admitted that “we had issues in the morning, that why have we not given them the list of the materials, I did mention to them that the materials were delivered to the Central Bank and the list would be handed over to us so we would have to wait for the Central Bank because we are also their client and we were also going to receive.
“When it was time, after they had checked all their stores and ensured that everything was okay, they brought out the papers and we gave them to the party agents. We also had our own. We all monitored the distribution, confirmed all the consignments before they were loaded onto the vehicles.”
Police express readiness, withdraw security men from govt. house
- DIG Joshak says ‘it won’t repeat itself’
Security men that dispersed people that had gathered at the Fajuyi pavilion at the government house in Ado Ekiti, have been withdrawn just as the police announced readiness to ensure free and fair election tomorrow.
The Commissioner of Police in charge of MOPOL, Mr Eche Eche, had led a team to mount a barricade at Fajuyi area of the town and blocked all entrances to the government house and the pavilion that also serves as the campaign office of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Professor Kolapo Olubunmi Olusola.
The restriction of human and vehicular movements that was the order of the day on Wednesday had been removed.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Mr. Habila Joshak, spoke on Ekiti Television on Thursday and explained that he did not order his officers and men to use teargas on the rallying PDP members.
According to him, “What I said was that those massing for the rally should be asked to leave because it is not good going by the mood of the state now to hold rally or street procession. I didn’t say they should use force.
“This is an election and electioneering is a civil matter anywhere across the globe, so police as security agents can’t use force on the people.
“But I want to assure the good people of Ekiti State that such mistake will never repeat itself.”
Governor Ayodele Fayose had wept on live television, on Wednesday, after he appeared on neck brace and a sling, and said that he was tear-gassed and beaten by the policemen who had taken over the government house gate.
The governor’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, told newsmen that the governor had been discharged from the
hospital and that he was now getting better.
Olayinka said: “The governor is now better and stabilizing fast. He is out of the hospital.”
Traditional rulers, Council of Elders want free and fair election, express apprehension
- Condemn alleged attack on Fayose
The Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Ekiti Council of Elders, in a joint press conference, on Thursday, demanded for a free and fair polls just as they expressed apprehension about alleged attack Governor Ayodele Fayose, on Wednesday.
The chairman of the traditional council, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju and the chairman of the Elders Council, Professor Joseph Oluwasanmi appealed to the Police to refrain from further harassment, intimidation and brutality of citizens of the state till the end of election and beyond.
In their separate communiqués at the end of their emergency meeting held in Ado Ekiti, they charged the people of Ekiti State to be calm and go about their normal duties without fear of molestation.
They said if such a thing could happen to the governor, they wondered what will happen to the ordinary citizens of the state in the course of the election.
The monarchs said: “Council met with the participating party leaders and the gubernatorial candidates with the Police, other law enforcement agencies, the INEC, the civil societies and the diplomatic community.
“During these meetings, the Traditional Rulers had preached peace implored all concerned to be neutral and unbiased. Most especially, we had requested the law enforcement agencies to refrain from intimidation, harassment and brutality of the people.
“We are therefore worried and disturbed that after all our appeal and entreaties, the police still went ahead to unleash mayhem on the Governor and innocent citizens right in front of the Government House.
“What happened yesterday showed that Ekiti State is under siege. We are not in a state of war and we don’t want Ekiti state to be turned into war zone. Election is a civil exercise and it should be so.”
Prof. Joseph Oluwasanmi and Secretary ,elder Niyi Ajibulu respectively, and made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti, appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government in providing security for the peaceful conduct of gubernatorial election, but added that” the massive deployment of security was causing fear, tension and great anxiety among our people who should ordinarily freely exercise their franchise without intimidation.
“We consider the unfortunate incident in the Government house premises on Wednesday as most embarrassing because the state governor and the government house are the symbol of authority for the state that should be accorded the respect the respect the respect they duly deserve.”