By Michael Oche,
The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has urged Edo electorates to come out and vote for candidates of their choice in Saturday’s governorship election, saying it is their right to do so.
The CTA in its pre-election statement said citizens, observers and stakeholders expect a free, fair and credible election as well as a violence-free election.
According to the statement signed by CTA executive director, Faith Nwadishi, the group urged Edo citizens to eschew violence during this period and at all times as election should not be a do or die affair.
She said violence only brings sorrows and will in no way contribute to the growth of democracy in the state.
“CTA supports the need to arrest individuals involved in election violence and prosecute them to create deterrence and fight impunity. Particularly, thugs that might be mobilized for the purpose of creating chaos and violence should be prosecuted. Their sponsors should be identified and also prosecuted. This will go a long way in curbing the desperation of the political class in our electoral process.”
She said during group’s interactions with stakeholders ahead of the election, citizens expressed the fear of potential violence across the entire 18 LGAs and 14 Local Government Areas have been identified as flashpoints
He said, “we urge that particular attention is paid to these LGAs. They are; Etsako West, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Owan West and Akoko-Edo in Edo North Senatorial District, Oredo, Orhionmwon, Egor, Ovia North East, and Ikpoba-Okha LGAs in Edo South Senatorial district and Esan Central, Esan North East and Esan West in Edo Central Senatorial district.
“However, we call for particular attention to Estako West, (Both the former APC Chairman and the Incumbent Deputy govern and deputy governorship candidate are from this LGA). Also, to note are Oredo and Orhiomwon, (the LGAs of the two most popular candidates of the 14 governorship candidates for the election). The mandate of ‘You must deliver your area’s mantra for politicians, will be the main reason for the violence.
“The police also reported the influx of small arms and warned on the consequences. The fears raised scared not only the citizens but elections monitors and observers.”
She however said the security agencies have assured citizens of the provision of adequate security and to protect lives and property before, during and after the election.
Nwadishi said vote trading has become a cankerworm eating deep into our polity and has become an ugly feature of elections in Nigeria today.
According to her, politicians have devised many ways to buy votes through gifting people with wrappers, food items and enticing palliatives, saying this should worry every well-meaning Nigerian.
She said, “The law enforcement agencies especially EFCC should be firm, while not going outside the law, in enforcing the electoral law including arresting people engaging in unwholesome practices such as vote trading.”