Akeredolu, Fayose Bicker over Ekiti Election

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• INEC to deploy 10,032 officials for guber poll

Onyebuchi Ezigbo and James  Sowole in Akure
The face-off between the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and his counterpart in Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, over the July 14 governorship election in his (Fayose) state, got messier as the cold war degenerated yesterday into verbal attacks on each other.

 Akeredolu, while replying Fayose on the election, boasted that thousands of Fayose cannot stop him and other governors of All Progressives Congress (APC) from supporting Kayode Fayemi, who is the party’s standard bearer.

 Fayose had through his Special Assistant on New Media and Public Communication, Lere Olayinka, castigated Akeredolu, alleging that he  brought no fewer than 150 policemen to Ado-Ekiti last Friday to perpetrate the gun attack in which about four persons, including an APC chieftain, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, were injured.

The Ekiti State governor equally alleged that Akeredolu planned to use Ondo State two months’ allocation to fund the electioneering of the APC governorship candidate in Ekiti State.

 However, Akeredolu in a statement by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Yemi Olowolabi, described Fayose’s allegation as baseless and deliberate falsehood.

“Ordinarily, we would have ignored all the deliberate lies, but we felt that we would not be fair to the unsuspecting larger members of the public if such lies were not debunked.

“For the information of the doubters, Akeredolu, even if provoked, cannot debase his personality to a level that he will sacrifice the interests of his people for pecuniary gains.

 “Instead of engaging in hypocritical activities like eating at motor parks and cutting ‘ponmo’ at the market square, Akeredolu is currently applying the public resources for the betterment of the lives of the people of the state,” Olowolabi said.

 According to him, Ondo State is witnessing massive infrastructural development in all sectors of the state, adding that the State Executive Council just approved a number of projects for execution.
He noted that the Akeredolu-led administration has performed creditably well in the last one year and few months.
Olowolabi alleged said the Ekiti State Police Command spokesperson, Caleb Okechukwu, had cleared the air on the issue.

 He said: “Investigation by the police had revealed that the shooter was a police officer brought from Lagos by an Ekiti politician. For this revelation, we believe that the Ekiti State governor and his cohorts will now bury their heads in shame.

 “We, therefore, call the security agencies in the country to take note of the false accusation leveled against Akeredolu by Fayose and his town crier, who only a few years ago, wrote a detailed report about the devious activities of his master.”

 While stating that the Ondo State Government was committed to the progress and peaceful co-existence between the states that were one before October 1996, Olowolabi said: “The seed of discord Fayose is trying to plant between the two states would not germinate no matter how much cunning he is.

 “We will love to state here categorically without mincing words that Akeredolu reserves every right to show support for the candidate of his party in Ekiti State, just as Governor Nysom Wike and the rest are showing support for the PDP in the state. There is no law that prohibits that.”

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral  Commission (INEC) has said it would be making use of 10, 032 officials to conduct the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.
The commission also said provisionally the total number of registered voters that a expected to participate in the Ekiti governorship poll is 919, 513.

While making a presentation on the preparations for the Ekiti governorship election, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, said the commission has identified about 299 polling units as hot spots for electoral violence.

He said the commission would deploy 2,600 card readers to ensure smooth and transparent conduct of the election.
Providing further statistics, Raji said out of 916,313 permanent voters card that are ready for collection, only 536,261 have been collected by its owners.

Also speaking at the event, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi said the commission is taking steps to prevent vote-buying and hate speech during the Ekiti election.