Governor Olusegun Mimiko
Yoruba groups, youths back Akeredolu
The Centre for Human Rights and Ethics in Development (CHRED) said yesterday that the organisation has indentified, recruited and trained about 150 credible citizens that would serve as observers during tomorrow’s election.
This is coming on the heels of reports that about 200 representatives of Yoruba-self determination groups, youths and women associations called on voters to support the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu.
But, the Executive Director of CHRED, Moshood Erubami, who disclosed this in Akure, at a press briefing, during the training of observers on their duties and responsibilities on the day of election, said the recruited observers would be deployed to all the polling stations, covering the 18 local government areas, to observe the election from start-up, including adequacy and early arrival of election materials and accreditation process.
He said the individuals would also observe conduct of election, attitude of electoral officials, voters and security officials, in and around the polling stations.
He said political violence in the state would not give the electorate the chance to understand the issues which politicians are promoting and understand how they would be addressed by the candidates representing each party.
“Right now in the state, free and fair election process has being ambushed by gruelling political campaigns which has regrettably transcended the realm of civility and decorum”, he said.
The director said the report also showed that there are revealing evidences of untoward practices by politicians which if not nipped in the bud might unsettle the electoral process.
He said the noticeable political violence that can encourage voter apathy which is becoming the norm since the re-run governorship election in Kogi, Adamawa, Balyesa, Cross Rivers, Kebbi, with less than 38 per cent voters turnout.
Meanwhile, the representatives came from all the South-west states, including Edo and Delta States, leaders from Northern Nigeria and representatives from Togo and Benin Republics, resolved that Ondo State must return into what they referred to as the “greater Yoruba family.”
Fielding questions from journalists in Akure, the group’s leader, Mr. Popoola Ajayi, said the election should be used to affirm the commitment of the people of Ondo State to the idylls of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, whom the people gave their 90 per cent support in his lifetime.
Ajayi warned that allowing Governor Olusegun Mimiko to retain the seat would undermine the political security in the entire South-west region.
“The retrieval of the mandate from the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) was a battle fought and won by the Yoruba people in Ondo State and beyond. Ondo State is an integral part of the Yoruba culture and history,” he said.
He said nobody should be allowed to rewrite history, alleging that Mimiko wants a small enclave where he can do anything without been questioned.
“He wants where he will not be accountable to the Yoruba people, where he will lord himself over a small population and bully the rest of the Yoruba nation. This is unacceptable to the Yoruba nation. We must all come together to stop him,” Ajayi said.