- Ekweremadu urges police, others to be neutral
Victor Olakiitan in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies against perverting the results of the governorship poll in Edo State on Saturday this week in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Fayose, who urged voters to cast their votes for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the poll, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, maintained that his party won’t tolerate inconclusive poll from Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC.
The governor described the PDP as the real and better change Nigerians need now that the deception of the APC has been exposed.
He said: “Edo people should not make the same mistake Nigerians made last year by enthroning the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
According to a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said: “Party sentiment apart, Ize-Iyamu has campaigned through the nooks and crannies of the state to sell his visions and missions to the people of the state and anyone who saw the Channels Television debate last Sunday would agree with me that Ize-Iyamu is better equipped for the governance of Edo State.”
The governor, who also called on the people of Edo State to be extra vigilant before, during and after the election, said; “the people should not just vote and go to sleep, they must make sure that their votes count and victory is ensured for Ize-Iyamu who is unarguably the best among the contenders.”
While calling on the INEC and the security agencies to maintain neutrality before, during and after the election, the governor described the Edo State election as a litmus test for the APC-led federal government, urging all government agencies involved in the election to put the interest of democracy first.
He said INEC must not repeat its story of inconclusiveness on the Edo State election, adding that for the first time in the history of this APC-led federal government; election must be free, fair and conclusive.
The governor declared that; “If you believe in me and you are a voter in Edo State, give your vote to Ize-Iyamu, the man who has demonstrated the required capacity to lead Edo State to prosperity.”
He said: “Opportunity to choose comes once in four years and the people of Edo State must grab this opportunity to change the fortune of the state for the better.
Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has expressed deep worries over the allegation of arbitrary arrests and intimidation of members and supporters of the Edo State chapter of the PDP by federal security agencies ahead of this Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
It would be recalled that the Edo State PDP recently accused the police of unwarranted arrest and harassment of its members and supporters.
However, reacting to the development, Ekweremadu called on President Buhari to urgently intervene to ensure a free, fair, and credible electoral process in Edo State.
“I am deeply distressed by the development, not just because I am a member of the PDP, but more importantly, because the PDP had taken our electoral process beyond where it is being dragged back to today.
“The greatest gift of democracy, which makes other blessings of democracy feasible, is the inalienable right of the people to elect their leaders of their own freewill in a free, fair, and credible electoral process that must be devoid of all forms of intimidation.
“As a beneficiary of the electoral reforms and policy of non-interference in the electoral process exemplified by the immediate past PDP administration led by former President Goodluck Jonathan, I expect the APC-led federal government to immediately call the security agencies to order. If the APC-led federal government cannot improve on the electoral process, I expect them to at least maintain the standard set by the PDP.”
The Senate Deputy President also called on the INEC, political parties, political elites, and the entire people of Edo State to work for the progress of the country and Edo State by ensuring a “credible, violence-free, and conclusive poll.”
He urged the Edo electorate to vote en masse for the PDP to change their fortunes for the better.
His words: “I believe it is now clear to Nigerians and the people of Edo State in particular that PDP is the only truly pan-Nigerian and pro-poor political party capable of turning things around for the nation. I expect Edo electorate to vent their displeasure over the excruciating hardship in the land by voting out the APC in Edo State.
“Also, since morning signposts the day, I expect the INEC to be fair to all and ensure a conclusive election in Edo State to reassure Nigerians that it would get it right in 2019.
“Edo people should also be assured that Nigerians are now looking for a more meaningful change that is better than the APC’s one chance change and Ize-Iyamu represents that meaningful change in Edo State.”
Fayose said Edo people should be vigilant on the election day and make sure that votes are counted and recorded in relevant forms at the polling units, adding that; “the people should know that elections are not concluded until results are announced officially.”