Senior citizens from Ekiti on Sunday in Ikeja, sued for peace as the state gets set for a high-stakes governorship election, characterised so far by rancor and acrimony.
The elders, speaking under a group, known as Igbimo Ure Ekiti (IUE), warned key players in the election not to allow the event to degenerate to anarchy and spilling of blood.
The President of the group, Prince Julius Adelusi, told stakeholders in the election at a news conference, to avoid heating up the polity in the countdown to the election, slated for July 14.
“We recognise with serious anxiety, the tension that has enveloped the state as the date of the election approaches.
“Shootings, hate speeches and talking tough, appear to be the order of the day across all the political divides, particularly the two major parties.
“IUE wishes to appeal to all stakeholders, including but not limited to the government at the centre, the state government as well as the security agencies to please allow the Ekiti State electorate choose their governor.
“This should be under a free and fair atmosphere in the interest of peace and stability of the state in particular, and also that of the nation in general,” Adelusi-Adeluyi said.
The IUE president recalled violent skirmishes that characterised past elections in Ekiti and called for non-repetition of past mistakes.
“We wish to recall with pain and anguish the electoral crisis of 1983 in the old Ondo State, comprising the present Ondo and Ekiti States, which was occasioned by loss of several lives and destruction of properties.
“We wish to recall that between 2007 and 2010, the gubernatorial election and the re-run that followed the court order was characterised by killing, destruction of valuable assets, fear and trepidation among Ekiti State residents.
“No one will forget in a hurry the Ido Osi tragedy, the Oye skirmishes and the inconsistencies of Madam Ayoka Adebayo, the then Ekiti State Electoral Commissioner.
“The IUE has resolved to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the election is transparent, to produce a governor who will propel the state towards socio-economic growth and development.’’
The group appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to exercise its mandate to ensure a free and credible electoral process, noting that the election would be a litmus test and a model for the 2019 general elections, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
“We shall hold the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu by his words that INEC will be transparent in its dealings, diligent and accountable.
“We charge INEC to ensure that every vote counts and that whatever technology is deployed for the election is fool proof and beyond question.
“After all, there are less than one million registered voters in Ekiti State. There are 16 local governments and the terrain is even and easily accessible,” the group said.
The IUE also cautioned youths in the state to avoid being used as thugs by politicians and to resist every monetary enticement at the expense of their destiny and future.