By Rotimi Ojomoyela
ADO-EKITI—THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, assured the electorate in Ekiti State that it would work with the security agencies to prevent monetisation of the July 14 governorship election in the state.
The electoral body said it was aware of how people were being offered N5,000 each to cast their votes in Anambra, Ondo, and Edo states, saying such won’t reoccur in Ekiti through strong synergy with the security agencies.
This was as the Ekiti State Council of Obas warned INEC against manipulation of the governorship election, urging it “not to outsmart the smart card readers so that the state can have a credible election that will be acceptable to all.”
Also, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, said the police has mapped out strategies to stop electoral malfeasance by ensuring that four policemen man a polling unit to ward off thuggery and manipulation.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in Ado Ekiti during a stakeholders’ meeting on the Continuous Registration Exercise.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governor, Prof Kolapo Olusola, who is also an aspirant in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; leaders of political parties, security agencies, market women, civil society organizations, labour leaders, among others.
Yakubu, who was represented by INEC National Commissioner in charge of Oyo, Ekiti, Osun and Ondo States, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, said: “The elections in Edo, Ondo and Anambra States were largely monetized. We are aware of this. It was, see and buy, but it won’t happen in Ekiti.”
He said INEC has conducted a total of 286 polls since 2015 and that only 28 were nullified due to parties’ poor internal democracy.
He said: “It 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.
“In the Ekiti election, we won’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 can’t carry large amount in their pockets.”
He assured that INEC will be neutral in Ekiti election, urging the stakeholders to work hard to mobilize the people for the continuous registration exercise and also claim over 200,000 Permanent Voters Cards that are still with the commission.
Ekiti monarchs urge INEC’s transparency
In their remarks, the Alare of Are Ekiti, Oba Boluwade Adebiyi, the Attah of Ayede, Oba Mumini Orisagbemi and the Alara of Aramoko, Oba Olu Adeyemi, urged INEC to 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 doesn’t represent the true reflection of their preference among the governorship candidates.
Oba Adebiyi said: “We are aware of the 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.”
We want INEC’s neutrality — Deputy Gov
Also, the Deputy Governor said Ekiti people are peace-loving people, urging that: “all we want from INEC is neutrality so that Ekiti can be at peace before, during and after this election,” he stated.
218,000 PVCs unclaimed — REC
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, Prof Abdulganiy Raji, said over 218,000 PVCs were yet to be claimed, urging the stakeholders to sensitize their people to be aware of their obligations during elections.