A group of traditional rulers in Ekiti State, which called themselves Majority of Obas, under the aegis of Council of Obas, on Wednesday, reiterated the call for a free, fair, transparent and credible governorship election, on Saturday, urging the security not to intimidate the electorate.
They also frowned at the wearing of masks of security agents and express concern over the deployment of 30,000 policemen for the exercise.
In a press statement, by the Majority of Obas group, signed by its chairman Oba Ayorinde Oyedeji (JP), the Olowa of Odo-Owa Ekiti, the group said: “We appreciate the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission and all relevant agencies towards making the July 14 Governorship Election a reality.
“However, we demand the Commission and all the relevant government agencies to go beyond lip service and ensure that the election is free, fair, credible and transparent by all standards. We would not want a repeat of the 1983 experience.
“While we agree that an election must be conducted in an atmosphere of peace, we view the deployment of 30,000 policemen and soldiers, among other security apparatuses, as an attempt to create an atmosphere of tension in the state.
“As stakeholders and leaders in our kingdoms with nowhere to run to, we urge the security agencies to conduct themselves properly and to remain neutral in the discharge of their duties.
“Of note, we condemn the wearing of masks by men of the Department of State Services deployed in Ekiti and demand immediate redress of the situation as such is already fueling suspicions among political gladiators.
“They should also restrict themselves to intelligence gathering and not to serve as a willing tool in favour of any political party to cause mayhem.
“Lastly, we urge all residents to come out en masse and exercise their voting rights without entertaining any fear. We urge INEC to ensure that every vote counts.”
Speaking with newsmen, the monarch of Emure Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Adebayo, who is a First Class traditional ruer from the Southern senatorial district, said: ”It is important to note that Ekiti is a peaceful state and we must know that there have been poll before and there will still be election later.
“I have learnt about the position of the Majority of Obas. I join them to appeal to Ekiti people to allow peace to reign and to have trust in INEC and security that all will be well.
“As an Oba from Ekiti south, it is like having three children and you give gifts to two and leave one out, and ask the third one to still wait, and say it does not matter. It matters and that is why I support the position of Majority of Obas in the need to vote for southern candidate.
“Everyone has his own choice but we are appealing to people to give Ekiti southern senatorial candidate a chance to be governor this time.
“It is fair and reasonable to say give the south a chance now. We should not make this poll a do or die affair and shun violent acts.”
Also, Oba Oladapado Oyelade, Ologotun of Ogotun, also from south senatorial district, said: “I have learnt that the Majority of Obas held a meeting and decided to support that the next governor should come from Ekiti south. There are three districts, central, north and south, the earlier two have produced governors tow times each.
“Ekiti south hasn’t produced a governor, not because there are no politicians in the district have six Local Government Areas (LGAs).
“More than two of the candidates from Ekiti south are contesting now. So, I support the view of the Majority of Obas in this respect.
“We have been rotating the chairmanship position of the Council of Obas,
“Equity demands that we should be fair in whatever we do so I am advising that Ekiti people to vote candidate southern senatorial district.”