Contrary to repeated the allegation being raised by Governor Ayodele Fayose that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was plotting to rig the July 14 governorship election in the state, the commission has said nothing would make it compromise the integrity of the poll in favour of any candidate.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Raji, has reaffirmed to Ekiti voters that the electoral umpire “is not equally prepared to compromise core values of autonomy, transparency, integrity and excellence among others”.
Speaking at a town hall meeting organised by the Democracy Vanguard, a civil society organisation working on good governance and democracy, the INEC boss who was represented by Mr. Taiwo Gbadegesin, the INEC Public Relations Officer, said the agency is “committed to conduct a free, fair and credible election for sustainable democracy in Ekiti State”.
The INEC boss identified poverty, voter apathy, illiteracy, greed, thirst for power at all cost and corruption as factors that hinder free, fair and credible elections.
He therefore recommended strongly that “erring officials and security operatives found wanting on election duties should be severely punished according to the dictates of the law while other civil society groups in Ekiti State should tow the path of Democracy Vanguard in sensitising the electorate”.
The town hall session had Dr. Dare Ayeni, a lecturer of Democratic Studies and Public Policy represented by a public policy analyst, Demola Olarewaju, and a chief superintendent of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Ekiti State, Mr. Yusuff Odunayo, as discussants.
The guest discussants reviewed previous governorship elections in Ekiti State between 1999 and 2014 and drew up lessons for INEC and security agencies ahead of the July 14, 2018 governorship election.
In her words, the state coordinator of the group, Mrs Yetunde Adeoluwa, said: “Never again shall political killings, financial inducements, do-or-die politics, violence, ballot snatching, and political hallelujahs be heard in Ekiti State.
“We shall embark on aggressive community sensitisation in all the 177 wards with our one-man-one-vote campaign message. Our votes must Democracy Vanguard’s National Coordinator, Adeola Soetan, assured the voters that all resources shall be deployed to ensure that the choice of the people come July 24 is sworn in by October 16, 2018.