Daniel Kanu (In Benin)
As all is now set for the Edo governorship election which is now less than 24hrs to the D-day, Saturday, September 19, the state is fully soaked in an atmosphere of tension and uneasiness.
Expectedly, most of the political gladiators are moving out of Benin, the state capital to their country home/ wards where they are expected to cast their votes as well as put their influence on displaying, thereby influencing voting too.
The general atmosphere in the state is tensed as the two contending political parties; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Party (APC) have all strategised to spring a surprise.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said 14 political parties are on the ballot, it will be a straight battle between Gov. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the PDP, and Pastor Ize Iyamu, candidate of the APC.
Each of the two political parties has been boasting of coasting home easy victory, it will be more of a big battle between two elephants as none of the parties is leaving anything to chance.
A lot of promises and assurances have been made that the election will be violent free, but there is no gainsaying the fact that the atmosphere is fully charged for the showdown.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has already ordered the restriction of vehicular movement from 11.59 pm today (Friday) to 6.00 am tomorrow (Saturday).
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr. Frank Mba Said the order was part of efforts by the police to ensure orderliness and safety during the election.
Also, spokesman for the police command in Edo state, S.P Chidi Nwabuzor said there is no cause for alarm as he assured the commitment of their men and other security agencies to provide adequate security for the exercise.
While APC has reiterated commitment to the peace accord which the parties signed on Wednesday to eschew violence during the election, Obaseki said the election will be free and fair given the massive preparation put in place by the security agency.
To see that the prediction of violence and bloodshed does not come to pass during the election the police said not less than three policemen and other security agencies (Army, Road Safety, Navy, etc) will be on the ground to man each of the 2,627 polling booths.
It is on record that since 1999, democratic elections have always been conducted with varying degrees of violence. What will be the degree of violence in the Edo governorship election can only be known after its conduct tomorrow.