Tension in Ekiti as 667,270 voters choose Fayose’s successor - Saga Gist - Top Source for Nigeria News


Saturday, July 14

Tension in Ekiti as 667,270 voters choose Fayose’s successor

Election monitors, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), yesterday identified six flash points where violence may erupt in tomorrow’s governorship election in Ekiti State.

Its chairperson, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, warned against possible outbreak of violence in some parts of Ado-Ekiti the state capital, Efon-Alaaye, Oye, Isan, Ire, and Ikole, urging security agencies to rise to the occasion.

The chairperson said fears were rife in Ado-Ekiti that violence could mar the poll in some parts of Dalimore, Ejigbo Junction, Fajuyi area, Ajilosun and Odo-Ado, all in the heart of the city.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is a native of Isan-Ekiti. Oye is the home town of Senator Ayo Arise, who has defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to APC.

Ire is the home town of former House of Representatives member, Bimbo Daramola, who was harassed along with his octogenarian father during the 2014 poll. During that previous election, votes from Efon Council were cancelled because of crisis.

Also, PDP and APC leaders acknowledged the tension in Ikere, the home town of the PDP flag bearer, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, which has been polarised by partisan interests of indigenes.

No fewer than four governorship candidates, including Olusola, Abiodun Aluko and Bisi Omoyeni, are from the ancient town.

The preparations for the election has also polarised the traditional institution in the town. While the monarch and some elite are allegedly backing Olusola, the Olukere, Oba Fasoyin, who is at loggerheads with the Ogoga of Ikere, and his supporters are backing Fayemi.

Akiyode-Afolabi told reporters in Ado-Ekiti that certain circumstances have made Ekiti to become a politically fragile state, owing to its history of political instability and tensed elections.

Akiyode-Afolabi lamented the numerous deaths that have stared the country in the face in recent times, adding that the Ekiti election should not add to the colossal loss of lives.

However, the human rights activist was ambivalent on the deployment of 30,000 policemen for electoral duty at a time some troubled parts of the country are not adequately policed.

She noted that Ekiti has been heated up by the neglect of issue-based campaigns by gladiators who have continued to fuel political tension by their hate speeches and character assassination.

Decrying what she described as over-deployment of policemen and threat of political violence, Akiyode-Afolabi said they could undermine the credibility of the electoral process, intimidate the electorate and result in poor voters’ turnout.

She urged the people to defile threats and coercion by turning out en mass to exercise their franchise on the basis of their conscience.

Akiyode-Afolabi enjoined the electoral commission to conduct a credible poll by fulfilling the logistic requirements and ensuring that its staff are not compromised during the exercise.

She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should ensure that the election is free, fair and conclusive.

“Also, there should be timely deployment of election materials at the polling unit to avoid voters being apprehensive.”

She urged politicians to sheath their swords, reduce the tension and allow the people to choose their next governor without resorting to violence and disruptions.

In her view, the poll should not be a do-or-die affair.

Akiyode-Afolabi added: “TMG calls on politicians to abide by the rules and regulations of the electoral process and abstain from monetary inducement to avoid chaos that usually occurs at polling units.

“They should refrain from inciting their supporters to engage in electoral malpractices and violence. They should, instead, mobilise and encourage their supporters to exercise their franchise by coming out to vote the candidate of their choice.”