Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured the electorate that the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State wonâ€™t be monetised like the ones conducted in Edo, Ondo and Anambra States.
The electoral body said it was aware of how people were being offered N5,000 each to cast their votes in those states, adding that such would not occur in Ekiti through strong synergy with the security agencies.
This was as the Ekiti State Council of Obas warned the electoral body against the manipulation of the governorship election, urging it â€œnot to outsmart the smart card readers, so that the state can have a credible election that will be acceptable to allâ€.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in Ado Ekiti during a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting on the continuous registration exercise.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governor, Prof Kolapo Olusola, who is also an aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), leaders of political parties, security agencies, market women, civil society organisations, and labour leaders, among others.
Yakubu, who was represented by INEC National Chairman in charge of Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo States, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, stated that: â€œThe elections in Edo, Ondo and Anambra States were largely monetized. We are aware of this. It was see and buy, but it wonâ€™t happen in Ekiti.”
He said INEC had conducted a total of 286 polls since 2015, adding that only 28 were nullified majorly due to partiesâ€™ poor internal democracy.
â€œIt was N5,000 per vote in Ondo and Anambra States. We are working with security agencies not to allow it to happen again. We even seized some cash in Anambra State.
â€œIn Ekiti election, we wonâ€™t allow any vehicle to come near the
polling units, because the politicians used to keep the money in the booth. With this, it will reduce because politicians canâ€™t carry large amount in their pockets,â€ he said.
He assured the audience that INEC will be neutral in Ekiti election, urging the stakeholders to work hard to mobilise the people for the continuous registration exercise and also claim over 200,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) that are still with the commission.
In their contributions, the Alare of Are Ekiti, Oba Boluwade Adebiyi; the Attah of Ayede, Oba Mumini Orisagbemi; and the Alara of Aramoko, Oba Olu Adeyemi, advised that INEC must be transparent.
Appealing to politicians to do things with decorum, they warned that the people of the state are ready to reject any election that doesnâ€™t represent the true reflection of their preference among the governorship candidates.
Oba Adebiyi said: â€œINEC boss, we are aware of smart card reader that will be used for this election. Our appeal is that do not outsmart the smart card reader, so that we can have a peaceful poll.”
The traditional ruler of Ayede added: â€œINEC is like a referee in a
football match. We have never heard of a referee trying to score a goal in a match. If INEC as a referee wants to score a goal in Ekiti, our people wonâ€™t allow that.â€
The Commissioner of Police, Ekit State Command, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, said the police have mapped out strategy to stop electoral malfeasance by ensuring that four policemen man a polling unit to ward off thuggery and manipulation.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ekiti, Prof Abdulganiy Raji, said over 218,000 PVCs were yet to be claimed, urging the stakeholders to sensitise their people to be aware of their obligations during elections.
The deputy governor said Ekiti people are peace-loving, adding that: â€œAll we want from INEC is neutrality, so that Ekiti can be at peace before, during and after this election.â€