A Civil Society Organization, the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), has expressed concern with what it described as provocative statements by politicians ahead of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Ekiti.
Addressing a press conference on: “Ekiti Election and Insecurity,” in Abuja, the group said such unguarded speeches are capable of triggering actions that will cause a serious security breach, not only in Ekiti, but across the country.
National Coordinator of CEPEJ, Comrade Sheriff Mulade however expressed concern over the huge deployment of security personnel to the state, even as he urged them to conduct themselves professionally.
He said: “We have observed with keen interest the development on Ekiti Election and security situation in Nigeria. The election and security challenges have become of great concern to us and we believe to other well-meaning Nigerians.
“The spate of killings across the country especially in the North Central and the unending fatal conflicts between headers and farmers across the country.
“The fear again is that these security challenges might negatively affect the July 14 Ekiti governorship election and 2019 general elections. There has been a bombardment of speeches that are not healthy from political actors across party lines in Ekiti state either accusing one another or the Election Management Board that is INEC of irregularities or attempts to rig the elections.
“These unguarded speeches are capable of triggering actions that will cause a serious breach to not only security of lives and property in Ekiti state but National security.”
He said: “More worrisome about the huge deployment of security agents to Ekiti state is the perception in some quarters that the security agents may serve negative ends. One may ask, why should the Nigeria Police deploy as much as 30,000 police officers and men just for a governorship election?
“You can also imagine the number of soldiers, Civil Defence, DSS and other Para military outfits deployed. Why not Zamfara, Plateau and Benue in the North Central where massive and cruel killings are taking place. The deployment, is it to intimidate the people and deprive them of their rights? By this act, the people of Ekiti state are tactically disenfranchised because the presence of these number of security agents breeds an atmosphere of fear and intimidation cajoling the people to stay away from polling units and invariably denied from casting their votes.”
While calling on the security agencies especially, the police must conduct themselves professionally, he pointed out that there is no war in Ekiti state, but election.
Therefore, he pleaded with the security agencies to be neutral and allow the people to freely exercise their franchise. it is the peoples’ right.
Despite this, he called on people of Ekiti state to come out en mass and vote for their choice candidates without feeling intimidated by the presence of these security agencies.
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