The ruling All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party and 13 other political parties are jostling to produce the next governor of Ekiti State in today’s election. The exercise is scheduled to hold across the 2,445 polling units in the 16 local government areas of the state.
The other parties include Accord Party, African Action Congress, African Democratic Congress, Action Democratic Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Allied Peoples Movement, Action Peoples Party, Labour Party, New Nigeria People’s Party, National Rescue Movement, Peoples Redemption Party, Young Progressives Party and Zenith Labour Party.
Meanwhile, in a sequel to the signing into law the Electoral Bill, assented to by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on February 25, 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission says it will begin the electronic transmission of results with the Ekiti governorship election. It’s the first election the commission is conducting since the all-important bill became law.
The Act empowers the commission to transmit election results in a way it determines.
Section 50 of the Act reads, “Subject to section 63 of this Act, voting at an election and transmission of results under this Act shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.”
Asked if the commission would commence the much-awaited electronic transmission of result with the election, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said in an interview with one of our correspondents, “Yes, the Ekiti governorship election results will be transmitted electronically.
“After the election and completion of the result management procedure at the polling unit, the Presiding Officer would transmit a clear image of the Form EC8A for purposes of collation. This image goes to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
He however noted that there would still be manual transmission of results to complement the electronic option. He added, “The PO (Presiding Officer) will also deliver by hand, the hard copy of the Form EC8A and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System to the Registration Area Collation Officer.”
749,065 voters to elect new gov
Meanwhile, only about 749,065 voters will elect the next governor of the state. The figure is the number of registered voters who had, as at Monday, collected their permanent voter cards from INEC. There are 988,923 registered voters in the state.
As part of efforts to ensure a smooth election, the joint team of security agencies deployed for the election for the second day embarked on a show of force round Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on Friday.
The team which lined up two Armoured Personnel Carriers and 13 trucks conveying personnel of Nigerian Army, police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, moved from the police headquarters to major streets of Ado Ekiti, thus causing heavy traffic along the routes, just as police helicopters engaged in aerial surveillance.
While the police deployed 17,374 personnel, the Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps deployed 9,747 personnel, in addition to the heavy deployment of men of the Nigerian Army. The Federal Fire Service also brought into the state men and fire-fighting trucks for the election.
IGP assures of adequate security, restricts vehicular movement
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, on Friday ordered the restriction of vehicular movements within the state particularly along the entry and exit points with effect from 12am on Saturday to 6pm.
The IGP, who spoke through the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the election, Babatunde Kokumo, said, “To this end, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the military as well as other security agencies have been deployed across the state borders to enforce the restriction order and ensure criminal-minded individuals do not infiltrate the state and cause mayhem during, before and after the election.
“We are also statutorily charged with the responsibility of securing INEC personnel, electoral materials and other critical assets of the commission as well as the electorate and the local and international observers.
“In carrying out our duties under the Electoral Act, we should be mindful not to abandon our routine, primary mandate of guaranteeing security within the public space so that criminal elements do not feast on our electoral engagement to have space for their heinous crimes.”
Also, NSCDC Acting Deputy Commandant General, Operations, Lawal Haruna, said the corps deployed 9,747 personnel drawn from the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Kogi, Kwara and Edo commands to provide security during the election.
He said some flashpoints had already been identified and that information regarding violence-prone areas had been shared with other security agencies involved in the election. He said two personnel of the corps would be in each polling unit.
NYSC DG seeks security of corps members
Director-General, National Youth Service Corps, Brig. Gen. Muhammad Kakuh Fadah, on Friday solicited adequate protection for corps members participating as ad hoc officials.
Fadah, who spoke during his visit to the headquarters of the security agencies in the state, wondered what Nigeria would be without the NYSC.
The top brass in the military, Department of State Services and the police in the state assured the NYSC DG they would do everything within their powers to ensure that corps members were secured during and after the elections.
On the safety of the ad hoc staff, Oyekanmi said, “The commission has obtained insurance policy for all the ad hoc staff that will be engaged in Ekiti governorship election. The policy, known as Electoral Hazard – a Group Personal Accident Policy, covers death by accident, temporary disability, permanent disability and medical treatment due to an accident. This has been the practice for every election that INEC conducts.”
Mass votes buying most likely – KDI
A non-governmental organisation, the Kimpact Development Initiative, has said there is an indication that there will be massive vote-buying in the election.
Kimpact’s Executive Director, Mr Bukola Idowu, said there was the need for security agencies to be professional to curb the menace. It also asked INEC officials to allow free and fair elections.
Idowu, who spoke in Ado Ekiti, said the organisation’s findings also indicated that there would be violence in some parts of the state during the election, while urging the security agencies to be professional.
Idowu said, “KDI is predicting a ridiculous widespread of vote-buying during the Saturday election particularly in Ekiti Central Senatorial District. INEC and security agents should be up and doing during the election.”
He said the findings of the organisation revealed that kidnappings and fake news might occur in Ekiti North and Ekiti South Senatorial Districts during the election.
CSO sets up Fake News Hub
Meanwhile, an independent capacity building organisation, Centre for Democracy and Development, on Friday set up a Fake News Hub domiciled in the centre’s Election Analysis Centre in Abuja.
Director of the Centre, Idayat Hassan, said the Centre, chaired by Prof Jinadu Adele, and assisted by seasoned governance and election experts, “will be providing accurate and real time analysis of events before, during and post-election period”.
Hassan, represented by a senior programmes officer, Austin Aigbe, said, “The negative effects of fake news include manipulation and distortion of facts that could mislead voters, affect turnout, heighten political tensions to incite electoral violence. Thus, Fake News Hub will spot, identify, investigate and counter fake news during this election.”
Also, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Co-convener, James Ugochukwu, who hailed INEC for the smooth distribution of sensitive materials from INEC headquarters two days to the election, however, said, “Situation Room will be holding INEC accountable for its commitment and assurances.”
Don’t set Ekiti on fire, Oni warns APC
The governorship candidate of the SDP, Chief Segun Oni, on Friday raised the alarm over the alleged kidnapping of leaders of his party by agents of the APC with the backing of some security agents.
Oni urged INEC to ensure that the election was conducted in strict compliance with the Electoral Act and guidelines to pass the credibility test.
He said, “It has become imperative to alert INEC, security agencies, election observers, the international community and all other stakeholders, on the dire need for all parties in this election to adhere strictly to the electoral laws and stipulated guidelines for free, fair and transparent conduct, devoid of violence.
“Some of those kidnapped escaped from their custody. They should be told to desist from this because what they are doing is illegal. We are still watching; we are not going to resist them. If we resist them, it may lead to loss of lives. We are telling them not to set this state on fire.”
Election’ll be peaceful – APC
The APC Publicity Secretary in the state, Segun Dipe, expressed hope that the election would go on peacefully, saying there would be no cause for voter apathy.
Dipe said, “We have the confidence and assurance that the security operatives will do their jobs very well, that INEC will do its job very well and that all party candidates will compose themselves very well. At this point, we are not considering any mayhem or any crisis. We believe everything will be on course. “However, we are aware of some people, who are in the contest so that they can litigate in the end, are looking for the weaknesses of INEC or the security operatives so that they can go to court. But by and large, we call for peace.”
Victory is sure – Kolawole
Although the PDP candidate, Bisi Kolawole, did not comment on whether he feared there could be violence which could bring about voter apathy, he said, “I am sure of victory in the election. We have worked and we will be victorious.”
Meanwhile, INEC has said it is working with relevant agencies to tackle the menace of vote-buying.
Oyekanmi said in the interview with Saturday PUNCH, “The commission is working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and other law enforcement agencies to tackle the menace of vote buying and selling. So, it is not just about what INEC is going to do. Other agencies also have the responsibility of curbing the vice.”