KEHINDE ADEWOLE, Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) on Friday said a total of 14 political parties will participate in the December 7 local government polls.
SIEC’s Chairman, Justice Jide Aladejana spoke in Ado Ekiti’ on Friday during the distribution of sensitive election materials to the 16 local government areas for the conduct of the Chairmanship and Councilorship election.
He said the commission decided to allow those whose Permanent Voter Cards had either got lost or defaced to vote with driver’s licence or national identity to allow more grassroots people to participate in the election .
“We have decided that those without PVCs but have their names on the voter register to vote with other universal acceptable means of identification because we are not using smart card readers.
“INEC decided to insist on the use of PVCs only in national elections because of the smart card readers and once we are not using the gadget, registered voters without PVCs can still identify themselves with acceptable ID cards and vote”.
The SIEC boss stated that the main opposition party, People’s Democratic Party will participate in the election and had fielded candidates across the 16 councils and 177 wards contrary to insinuation that the party may boycott the poll.
Aladejana who briefed party leaders and newsmen said only four political parties fielded candidates for the election.
Aladejana clarified that 14 political parties that purchased the expression of intent forms were put on the ballot despite that many times them failed to present candidates for the poll.
He assured that adequate security has been put in place in collaboration with the security apparatuses from the police, Nigerian Security and civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Services to ensure peaceful conduct of the election.
“The election of Saturday will be free, fair and credible . Tell your supporters that they should allow peace . All the sensitive materials will be distributed before all the leaders of the participating parties .We are going to be credible and be upright”.
Aladejana added that materials will be ready at polling units as scheduled while the voting will take place between 8am and 2pm before collation of election results across the 2,195 units.
“I am optimistic that this election will be peaceful . Only four parties out of 14 that expressed interests presented candidates for the election. This election shall be a huge success , I can assure you that”.
On the fear that the election will be rigged in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Aladejana said: “I am a judicial officer and I am not going to get involved in any rigging”.