The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies yesterday assured Ekiti people of free, fair and peaceful election.
They pledged that the governorship poll, slated for July 14 will be credible and devoid of any form of manipulations that could make the process not acceptable to the the people.
The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Osun states, Mr Solomon Soyebi, the State Police Commissioner, Mr Ahmed Bello and the state Director of Department of State Services, Mrs. Promise Iheanacho, gave the assurance on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital during a town hall meeting organised by Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room.
In his opening address, the Chairman of the Civil Society Organisation, Mr. Clement Nwakwo, said the meeting was convened to extract assurances from INEC and security agencies and other stakeholders that the upcoming election will be credible.
He said: “What we have got from INEC and security agencies are reassuring, that we will get free and fair poll in Ekiti. We are going to hold INEC accountable for whatever happens and that is why it is good for the security to be helpful and we know they won’t default in this regard”.
All the governorship candidates of the political parties present at the meeting were made to sign a peace pact by non-governmental organization to ensure a violence-free poll.
The state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose had in his remarks took on the the police boss, the DSS director and the leadership of INEC over what he called deployment of compromised operatives to the state to perpetrate rigging and illegal arrests and alleged activities of INEC to manipulate the process.
Fayose specifically alleged that ex-Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Hakeem Abiola and former Aide De’ Camp (ADC), Adeyemi Ajayi, have been clandestinely brought to Ekiti to lead policemen to conduct illegal arrest of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and harass electorate.
The chairman of the State council of traditional rulers, Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju and the Attah of Ayede, Oba Abdulmumin Orisagbemi, advised the INEC official and the security chiefs on the need to ensure that the a free, fair, credible and peaceful poll and to also redeploy the two men in question out of the state in the interest of peace.
But the DSS boss, Mrs Ihenacho, who confirmed that the former Fayemi’s CSO is in Ekiti but not a leader of a unit as alleged by the governor, which further provoked the audience and made them to become uncontrollable until Fayose intervened and brought the situation under control said the matter will be looked into and appropriateaction taken on the issue.
The CP, however promised that any police officer known to have political affinity with any of the interested parties would not be used for the election.
The CP added that “I have built a career going to 35 years in the police and I won’t want anybody to bring me down, not even any politician or even your Excellency, Dr. Fayose will ask me to rig election and I will comply.
“We are going to give equal opportunities to all the parties and the issue you have raised will be looked into, because there are procedure we must follow , even if they are going to be redeployed”, he said.
The governor accused DSS operatives of allegedly arresting and detaining of PDP members and some teachers.
He also tendered a video evidence to INEC chiefs at the event to confirm alleged preloading of the smart card reader by a political party in Akure, Ondo State capital.
Soyebi said the enhanced Smart readers to be used for the election has been programmed to only work, say between the hours of 8am and 3 pm on election.
He added that none of the card reader have been configured for the purpose of the election.
Fayose said: “Free and fair election can only come when security did the right thing. On the day of election, I want all my security details to be withdrawn. But let me say that DSS have started arresting people but this will be resisted.
“You can’t be expecting a free, fair poll when people were being harassed and detained illegally and a police officer and DSS operative attached to a former governor were secretly drafted to head a detachment of force comprising about 63 men”.
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