Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State council of Obas on Monday warned and also appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against manipulating the July 14 governorship election, urging it “not to outsmart the smart card readers, so that the state can have a credible election that will be acceptable to all”.
This was just as the INEC has assured the electorate that it won’t allow the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State to be monetized like the ones conducted in Edo, Ondo and Anambra states wher
e money was alleged to have influenced voters’ decisions.The electoral body said it was aware of how people were offered N5,000 each to cast their votes in those states, saying such won’t reoccur in Ekiti through strong synergy with the security agencies.
The INEC Chairman , Prof Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in Ado Ekiti during a stakeholders’ meeting on the Continuous registration exercise .
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governor, Prof Kolapo Olusola, who is also an aspirant in the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), leaders of political parties, security agencies, market women, civil society organizations, labour leaders, among others.
Yakubu, who was represented by INEC National Chairman in charge of Oyo, Ekiti , Osun and Ondo States, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, stated that; “the elections in Edo, Ondo and Anambra States were largely monetized. We are aware of this . It was see and buy, but it won’t happen in Ekiti.
He said INEC has conducted a total of 286 polls since 2015 and that only 28 were nullified majorly due to parties’ poor internal democracy.
“It was N5,000 per vote in Ondo and Anambra states. We are working with security agencies not to allow it to happen again. We even seized some cash in Anambra State.
“In Ekiti election, we won’t allow any vehicle to come near the polling units, because the politicians used to keep the money in the booth. With this, it will reduce because politicians can’t carry large amount in their pockets”.
He assured that INEC will be neutral in Ekiti election, urging the stakeholders to work hard to mobilize the people for the continuous registration exercise and also claim over 200,000 Permanent Voter Cards that are still with the commission.
In their contributions, the Alare of Are Ekiti, Oba Boluwade Adebiyi, the Attah of Ayede, Oba Mumini Orisagbemi and the Alara of Aramoko, Oba Olu Adeyemi, advised that INEC must be transparent.
Appealing to politicians to do things with decorum, they warned that the people of the state are ready to reject any election that doesn’t represent the true reflection of their preference among the governorship candidates.
Oba Adebiyi said: “INEC boss, we are aware of smart card reader that will be used for this election. Our appeal is that , do not outsmart
the smart card reader, so that we can have a peaceful poll”.
The traditional ruler of Ayede added : “INEC is like a referee in a football match. We have never heard of a referee trying to score a goal in a match. If INEC as a referee wants to score a goal in Ekiti, our people won’t allow that”, he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, said the police has mapped out strategy to stop electoral malfeasance by ensuring that four policemen man a polling unit to ward off thuggery and manipulation.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti, Prof Abdulganiy Raji, said over 218,000 PVCs were yet to be claimed, urging the stakeholders to sensitize their people to be aware of their obligations during elections.
The Deputy governor , said Ekiti people are peace-loving people, saying: “all we want from INEC is neutrality, so that Ekiti can be at peace before, during and after this election”, he stated.