• Ekiti monarchs talk tough on guber poll
Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti; Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described yesterday’s declaration of re-election bid by President Muhammadu Buhari as an ambition dead on arrival.
Fayose warned that if Buhari is re-elected, he would kill the country. He said Nigeria does not need Buhari as its leader in 2019.
The governor, who spoke to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, through his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, yesterday, said if Buhari is unable to read the handwriting on the wall to know when to call it quits, Nigerians would show him the exit in 2019 by voting him out of office.
Fayose said Buhari is not only too old to lead the country, but has bungled the opportunity given him by his woeful performance.
He said: “That ambition is dead on arrival. We don’t want grandpa as president anymore. Nigeria does not deserve a Buhari as president in 2019. Buhari is old and tired. When people don’t know when to take their leave and say bye, Nigerians will show them the exit.
“He has done more harm to this country. His ambition is a means by which Nigerians will tell him good riddance to bad rubbish when they boot him out of office. He is an easy candidate to defeat in the poll for he has failed woefully.
“He has failed in all fronts. He has failed in his so-called fight against corruption and in the economic front. He has not done well in terms of security. People are being killed in large number daily and Nigerians have no confidence in him.
“His declaration, today, is a slap on Nigerians in the face of what they are passing through. His government is not only clueless, but a shambles. He should go home and rest.”
In a related development, the Ekiti state Council of Obas has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to manipulate the July 14 governorship election.
The council called on the electoral commission not to outsmart the smart card readers, so that the state can have a credible election that will be acceptable to all.
Regardless, INEC has assured it won’t allow the July 14 governorship election to be monetised like the ones conducted in Edo, Ondo and Anambra states, where money was alleged to have influenced voters’ decisions.
The electoral body said it was aware people were offered N5,000 each to cast their votes in those states and assured 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, leaders of political parties, security agencies, market women, civil society organisations and labour leaders.
Yakubu, who was represented by INEC National Chairman in charge of Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states, Solomon Soyebi, said: “The elections in Edo, Ondo and Anambra states were largely monetised. We are aware of this, but, it won’t happen in Ekiti.”
He said INEC has conducted 286 polls since 2015 and 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 happen again. We won’t allow any vehicle to come near the polling units, because the politicians keep the money in the booth. With this, it will reduce because politicians cannot carry large amount in their pockets.”
The INEC boss said over 200,000 permanent voter’s cards are still with the commission.
In their remarks, the Alare of Are Ekiti, Oba Boluwade Adebiyi, the Attah of Ayede, Oba Mumini Orisagbemi and the Alara of Aramoko, Oba Olu Adeyemi, urged INEC to be transparent.
Commissioner of Police, Abdullahi Chafe, said the police have mapped out strategies to stop electoral malfeasance by deploying four policemen in a polling unit to ward off thuggery and manipulation.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, urged the stakeholders to sensitise their people on their obligations during elections while the deputy governor said: “All we want from INEC is neutrality, so that Ekiti can be at peace before, during and after this election.”
Meanwhile, INEC has said there will be no going back in its resolve to deploy technology in the conduct of the 2019 general election and other subsequent polls in the country.
Yakubu stated this at the ongoing conference on the use of technology in elections in the West and Southern African countries in Abuja, yesterday.
He further noted that the deployment of technology has empowered citizens, more than ever before, to sensitise, organise, mobilise and protect their mandates through the use of various social media platforms.
Although he admitted some challenges associated with the deployment of technologies, the INEC boss however, pointed out that the benefits far outweighed the disadvantages.
“Given the deficit of infrastructure and expertise in many countries in our sub-regions and the regularity with which elections are conducted, concerns have been raised about cost, choice and effectiveness of technology.
“Furthermore, given the high stakes involved in conducting elections in developing countries, electoral commissions must understandably be worried about the twin issues of communication and security, especially in situations where data reside with, and is indirectly transmitted to the tallying centres through offshore vendors rather than exclusively controlled within national boundaries by the election management bodies.
“In addition, we have to contend with the disturbing, but rapidly incidence of election meddling through the deployment of counter-technology on a global scale by state and non-state actors,” he said.
In the same vein, President of the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), Ms. Monica Frassoni, said: “The perception of an impartial and competent electoral management body is a precondition for technology to be perceived as an aid to the perfection of the electoral process.”
She urged the conference that the use technology and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in elections has been seen both as a facilitator and a spoiler to the process.
The representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Francis Oke, advised that the deployment of technology in elections should be scrutinised, but called for confidence building.
Oke, who pointed out that elections create tension in Africa, disclosed that this problem led to the formation of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) to assist in information sharing by EMBs in the sub-region.
The Executive Committee Chairperson of South African Development Community (SADC), Advocate Notemba Tjipueja, enumerated the benefits of the deployment of technology in the conduct of elections.
Tjipueja, who is also chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia, said most electoral management bodies around the world use new technologies in the conduct of elections.