Ekiti governorship election: 34 candidates jostle for 667,270 votes

By Editor on 14/07/2018

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Fayemi, Olusola
Fayemi, Olusola

Thirty-four candidates from various political parties will on Saturday (today) contest for the Ekiti State governorship election.

There had been tension and apprehension during the electioneering, especially with the deployment of more than 30,000 security men by the police and other security agencies in the state for the poll.

According to records by the Independent National Electoral Commission, in the 16 council areas of the state, there are 177 registration areas; 2,195 polling units; and 256 polling points, with 913,334 registered voters.

However, out of the figure, 667,270 are accredited to vote, representing 73 per cent of the registered voting population.

Among those contesting to succeed Governor Ayodele Fayose are the Accord Party candidate, Jacob Aluko, 69; the All Progressives Congress candidate, Kayode Fayemi, 53; the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Kolapo Olusola, 49; and 43-year-old Aiyegbusi Oladele of the Socialist Democratic Party.

Also in the race are the Labour Party candidate, Sikiru Lawal, 59; Amuda Kazeem of KOWA Party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate, Ayodeji Ayodele, 62; and the Alliance for Democracy candidate, Ben Agboola, 49

Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, has allayed fears that armed policemen drafted by the Inspector General of Police to the state for the election would harass the electorate.

More than 30,000 security personnel, as well as two helicopters, 250 patrol vehicles and five Armoured Personnel Carriers, had earlier been deployed in the state.

Expressing worries over the development, some voters said the heavy presence of armed policemen could scare them away from coming out to vote.

They said the state was rather too small for such a high number of policemen to have been deployed by the IGP, stating that it gave the impression that there was going to be war during the election.

 

However, Raji said there was no need to panic, warning those who have no Permanent Voter Cards to stay away from the polling units during the election. He noted that the Rapid Response Squad of the police would be stationed at strategic points in the state.

He also said the INEC gave enough time for registered voters to collect their PVCs and lodge complaints before the process was stopped on Wednesday.

He said, “INEC in Ekiti State is prepared for the election. We have 913,334 voters registered, out of which 667,270 have collected their permanent voter cards. This means that 667,270 will vote in Saturday’s (today) election.

“The Inspector General of Police has made public the number of security personnel drafted to the state. They are not harassing anyone. For each vehicle that went out to distribute election materials, we have a minimum of 15 armed policemen accompanying it.

But on the day of the election (today), there will be no armed security men at the polling units. Election is a civil process, so no one will be intimidated.”

In preparation for the election, the REC said necessary measures had been put in place to ensure that there would be no delay in the commencement of the exercise.

He said, “All ad hoc staff and supervisors moved to all the registration area centres on Friday.

“By 5am on Saturday (today), the materials and ad hoc staff will start movement to the polling units. By 8am, we will start election.”

PDP chieftains go into hiding ahead of election

Meanwhile, some chieftains of the PDP in Ikere-Ekiti have gone into hiding as fear heightened among them that the police might clamp down on them in order to put their members in disarray ahead of the election.

One of our correspondents gathered that some of the party leaders in the town had however devised various means to evade the alleged planned arrest.

A former member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had relocated to a hotel and would not go back home until after the election because the police were planning to arrest the chieftains of the party, including him.

When contacted on the telephone on Friday, the Public Relations Officer of the PDP in Ekiti State, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, said that the planned arrest of the party chieftains on the instruction of the APC-led Federal Government had already started.

He said, “They arrested the deputy governorship candidate, they arrested Dr. (Samuel) Omotosho. They have arrested four persons now, but some have been released.

“They arrested some of our members last night (Thursday) and went in search of some this morning (Friday). They vandalised the houses of those they did not see. The security personnel shattered the house of Taye Fasuba. Those security men behaved like thugs.”

Calls put through to the APC spokesperson in the state, Mr. Taiwo Olatubosun, to seek the party’s reaction to the allegations were not answered.

However, an APC chieftain in Ilawe-Ekiti, Mr. Shina Awelewa, debunked the allegation.

Awelewa, a former Chairman of the Ekiti State Broadcasting Corporation, said the PDP leaders were making noise because they knew that security agencies had foiled their (PDP) plans to disrupt the election.

“The security agents are not arresting PDP chieftains. But, they are after the known PDP thugs who Fayose wants to use to cause violence during the election,” he said.

Denying the allegations by the PDP, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Caleb Okechukwu, said the police did not arrest anyone in connection with the election.

Ikere residents resist arrest of PDP candidate’s relatives

Meanwhile, a major crisis was reportedly prevented in Ikere-Ekiti on Friday evening when residents of the town prevented policemen from arresting Olusola’s relatives.

Armed policemen were said to have stormed the relatives’ house located at the back of a petrol station along Ado-Ikere Road, but found only those who were cooking.

Some residents, who were suspicious of the movement of the policemen, were said to have mobilised others who resisted the planned arrest.

The confrontation with the police was said to have forced the security personnel to shoot into the air and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, who refused to move.

Some of the people were reportedly arrested and taken to the Area Command along the College of Education Road.

The angry residents reportedly followed the arrested persons, while some of them were said to have been released after Olusola intervened in the matter.

Four out of those arrested were said to have been found with Indian hemp and held by the police.

However, Okechukwu said the police did not arrest any of the PDP candidate’s relatives.--Punch

Posted 14/07/2018 08:03 AM

 

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