The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday said the deployment of about 30,000 policemen to Ekiti State for the July 14 governorship election was based on the security need of the election.
This development is coming as the stakeholders’ meeting convened in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, by the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, came to an abrupt end yesterday , as party members disrupted the parley in a show of strength..
But despite the confusion, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, still provided free petrol to commercial motorcycle riders in Ado-Ekiti.
The Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), Jimoh Moshood, in a statement last Sunday, had said the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Department of Operations had been deployed to the state and would be assisted by an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), four Commissioners of Police (CPs), eight Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) and 18 Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs).
However, responding to THISDAY enquiry, INEC Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said with 16 local government areas 177 registration areas, 2,195 Polling Units, 256 Voting Points; three senatorial districts: six Federal constituencies; 26 state constituencies and 913, 334 registered voters, the police should have a deep knowledge of the security needs of the state.
He said: “It is pertinent to note that the police is the establishment saddled with the responsibility of providing security for the entire country. They have deep knowledge about the security needs for this type of election.
“To that extent, I don’t see any need to worry. My appeal to the good citizens of Ekiti State is that they should please cooperate with INEC and the security agencies to ensure the successful conduct of the election,” he said.
However, the stakeholders’ meeting convened by Idris and Yakubu came to an abrupt end yesterday as party members disrupted the parley in a show of strength.
The parley, which was attended by candidates of the 35 political parties, ended in uproar as members of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) threw jibes at each other.
Idris and Yakubu had addressed the stakeholders after which the representative of the PDP , Hon. Samuel Omotoso, a serving lawmaker, had raised observations that Fayemi had allegedly been bragging that he would be declared the winner whether he loses the election or not.
Omotoso also raised observations about how he and his family were allegedly shot by security agencies during APC rally in his community at Oloje town in Oye Local Government Area of the state, and wanted to know why some security agencies had been exhibiting partisanship.
But when Omotoso mentioned Fayemi’s name consistently, the APC members shouted him down.
However, the lawmaker refused to stop and he continued until he raised all the PDP’s objections against alleged misconduct of the security personnel.
It was after Omotoso rounded off his speech that the PDP supporters burst into a loud noise , chanting ‘Eleka Ibo’, meaning : ‘Eleka for votes’ for more than 10 minutes and the atmosphere of the Eagle Hall along Ikere
road, Ado Ekiti, where the event was held became charged .
Eleka is the political acronym of the PDP candidate, Prof. Olubunmi Olusola, who is the Deputy Governor of the state.
Efforts made by the INEC chief, Inspector General of Police and the Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju, didn’t placate the rampaging party members.
It was at this time that dignitaries at the event started leaving the hall and the parley came to an abrupt end without the interactive session, where stakeholders would have asked questions and demanded relevant answers.
Earlier, Idris said a total number of 4, 390 combined forces of soldiers and other paramilitary would be deployed to complement the 30,000 policemen that have been drafted to the state to monitor the election.
In his remark, Yakubu said the electoral body decided to distribute the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to the ward level to motivate the electorate to collect and exercise their franchise rights.
Also affirming that the election would be credible, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, said a total of 913, 334 had been registered by the commission out of which 667,064 had collected their PVCs.
Raji said the commission still had a total of 246,270 unclaimed PVCs that were yet to be collected by owners.
Meanwhile, Fayemi provided fuel free for ‘Okada’ operators under a scheme launched at Mobil Petrol Station along Ikere Road in Ajilosun, where the riders formed long queues to benefit from the gesture.