By Yusuf Alli, Handling Editor, Northern Operation/Bisi Oladele/Osagie Otabor/Precious Igbowelundu, Akure
- Authorities arrest 25 for guns belongings
- Guvs’ existence in state risk to trustworthy survey– TMG
- OAU VC not our Returning Officer– INEC
At least 27 various parts of Ondo State will be getting unique security attention when citizens submit out today to choose the guv of the state for the next 4 years.
The 27 locations have actually been recognized by the security companies as flash points and it is expected that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will also provide due attention.
Security has actually currently been boosted in all boundary towns with the cops vowing the safety of all stakeholders.
Nevertheless, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a union of over 400 civil society organizations, cried out yesterday over what it called an intrusion of the state by some guvs.
The Chairman, Shift Tracking Group, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, stated at a pre-election press briefing that the refusal of these governors to leave the state made up a hazard to the peaceful and credible conduct of the election.
The INEC debunked the claims by the Peoples Democratic Celebration (PDP) that it had actually designated a townsman of Guv Rotimi Akeredolu as the Chief Returning Officer for the election.
The commission stated not just was the allegation incorrect, it would not share its obligation of appointing authorities with anybody.
An extremely placed INEC source stated, ahead of the election, that more attention was being paid to security in order to safeguard the sanctity of the ballot.
” So far, security agencies did their assessment in Ondo and they have recognized 27 flashpoints,” the source said.
Continuing, he stated: “They named the affected places and the concerned local government areas.
” Considering that we have the intelligence at our disposal, we are taking to the advisory. We have actually likewise done our own threat assessment too.
” In terms of protection, Ondo State has more wards than Edo State.
” Absolutely, we require to deploy more resources and security workers in Ondo. We are considering the intelligence at our disposal.
” We had a conference with the Nigerian Navy on protection for electoral officers and the ballot procedure in seaside areas of the state. The Navy has actually guaranteed to offer appropriate escort on the sea to the remotest parts.
” In truth, there are some seaside towns and towns where authorities will spend four hours on boat to get there. With the support of the Navy and other security agencies, these seaside areas were the first to get all the needed materials.
” The Army was just outstanding in Edo State where they obstructed all the entry points to the state. We are adopting the very same technique in Ondo for Saturday’s poll.”
Responding to a concern, the source stated INEC was anticipating a peaceful survey.
The source added: “Historically, it has actually been politically unstable in Ondo State, however we are taking a look at another excellent trip. Overall, we hope it will be a peaceful survey.
” In 2016, there was tension in Ondo and we were stressed. But a former National Commissioner said the risks were Shakara (simple hype).
” We didn’t believe but it occurred. We are expecting that the same serene outlook will duplicate itself.
” Like we performed in 2016, INEC will ensure a totally free and fair poll. Considering that the election of ex-Governor Adebayo Adefarati in 1999, it was only the 2016 survey that was not challenged in court.”
The source stated INEC would sustain its uploading of outcomes at the ballot unit to earn the confidence of citizens.
” This uploading of outcomes at the ballot unit level was a test-run and it worked because voters had the ability to track the voting process and the result.
” INEC will not jeopardize on the basic it has actually set in Edo. We will rather develop on it.”
Authorities arrest 25 for firearms belongings
Likewise speaking on Friday ahead of the surveys, Authorities Deputy Inspector General in charge of the election security, Leye Oyebade, stated a robust mechanism was already in place to make sure the safety of all stakeholders.
He stated tactical squads and professionals had been deployed to crime map the state for sufficient security planning.
Oyebade stated the police, in partnership with the Navy, had effectively protected the riverine areas of the state.
His words: “We have been able to put a robust system on ground that is going to work; a mechanism that it is going to provide us the desired result, which is security.
” We have deployed to the riverine areas at least three per system. We have deployed males to all the collation centres and offered adequate protection to INEC authorities, and products in all the needed areas that are implied to be covered.
” Our preparation has actually been continuous in the past now behind the scene. We have had the ability to criminal offense map the state and noted the threat analysis.
” We will not be distracted. We have enough personnel to resolve the concerns of banditry, kidnapping and all of that. We have our technical platform to track and do the needful.
” We have appropriate number to attend to the supervision of this election; workers are sound technically. We are excellent to go.
” We have had the ability to structure the terrain, the waterways, land and air, all entry and exit points. We have been able to get sufficient workers lectured, trained and tutored to be expert.
” So, with the personnel we have on ground, suitable logistics and with the mindset to compromise, due to the fact that this is a significant event to commemorate our democracy, the police officers’ spirits is very high. We understand that the police and other security agencies are prepared to secure lives and residential or commercial property.
” We have actually had the ability to support in terms of defense of INEC authorities and transport of INEC products that has actually started for some days now and has been going on without any issue.
” We have also had confidence structure patrols and have actually ensured individuals of their security. We are on ground to secure them, so, they ought to come out and cast their votes.
” We have a code of conduct directing the personnel that have actually been deployed.
” We have actually also sent out devoted mobile numbers- 07049960674 and09152784339 These two numbers are for members of the public to have access to us through calls and text messages.
” If they believe there is an immediate matter going on, they can send a message, photos or videos to us through WhatsApp on this number: 07049936417.”
The DIG interested citizens and non-residents alike to respect the movement limitation.
There will be no automobile motion in between 11.59 pm yesterday and 6 pm today throughout the state.
The relocation is suggested to prevent political stars and trouble-makers from participating in disruptive acts, circulation and use of illegal arms and controlled substances, motion of political thugs and disturbance of the electoral procedures.
Cops Commissioner (CP) Bolaji Salami said a minimum of 25 suspects were apprehended in the last two weeks for prohibited possession of guns.
The suspects were alleged to be political goons armed for the disruption of the electioneering procedure however were selected by tactical squads following actionable intelligence.
According to Salami, the majority of them have been credited court, adding that the cops would leave no stone unturned to guarantee peace and security during and after the ballot procedures.
” We have been selecting them out. We have apprehended like 25 for illegal ownership of guns and charged them to court.
” So far, there is calm and we are well prepared to ensure this exercise goes efficiently,” he stated.
60 sniffer canines, 7,079 to be deployed by NSCDC
On its part, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has actually released about 60 sniffer dogs and 7,079 officers and men drawn from the 6 South West states including Kogi and Kwara commands for the election.
4 Assistant Commandants General will be on duty during the survey.
Deputy Commandant General, Operations, Hilary Madu, who spoke in Akure on the preparedness of the corps, stated six of the sniffer canines would be deployed to INEC headquarters to enhance workers from the Special Force, Intelligence Department and SWAT system.
Madu specified that the NSCDC officials had actually been properly briefed on their functions throughout the survey.
Guvs’ existence hazard to reliable survey– TMG
The Transition Tracking Group, a union of over 400 civil society organisations, kicked on Friday over the existence of guvs in Ondo State for the election, saying their exposure was a risk to credible polls.
Dealing with reporters in Akure, TMG chairman Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi questioned why the unnamed guvs “refused to leave after project has actually ended.”
She stated: These guvs who took a trip and sponsored their political exploration with the meagre resources of their states might constitute a threat to free and reasonable election by benefiting from their resistance to be associated with election malpractices like vote-buying, intimidation of security operatives and sponsorship of political violence.
” All getting into guvs must leave since project has actually ended.”
She declared that the three leading political parties for the election had participated in promoting violence and inducing voters ahead of the poll.
” Considering that the beginning of electioneering, the three significant political parties, APC, PDP and ZLP, have been associated with promoting political banditry, violence and reprisal, allegations and counter-allegations, vote-buying and voters inducement at different levels and in varied types,” she stated.
She added: “This action is prohibited as it flouts electoral law.
” This has actually raised political tension in the state up until a couple of days to the election when more security personnel were released in the state. TMG condemns this desperation for power by political parties as it weakens the essential tenet of democracy, which is free choice.
” TMG interest political parties and prospects to translate their agreement to observe peace by granting sign peace accord into practice through maintenance of order and observe all the guidelines governing elections during and after the survey.
” Election must not be a do-or-die affair if the purpose is to serve and not to loot the treasury. We demand the establishment of Electoral Offences Mobile Courts in future to handle electoral wrongdoers with dispatch on the day of election.”
The TMG, she added, had actually determined Akoko South East, Ilaje, Oke-Igbo/Ile Oluji, Akoko South West, Owo, Idanre, Akure South, Ese Odo city government locations as hotspots throughout the election.
Jegede to INEC: this election must be transparent and trustworthy
The Peoples Democratic Celebration’s (PDP’s) prospect, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), asked INEC to develop on its efficiency in Edo State by guaranteeing that Saturday’s election is totally free, reasonable, transparent and credible.
” We were delighted about INEC performance in Edo, but we are somewhat apprehensive that if INEC follows tradition and takes four steps backwards, it will not be pretty for the election, for the state and the country,” Jegede stated through the representative of his project company, Gbenga Akinmoyo.
He included: “INEC ought to remember that in 1983, the electoral crisis that brought down the Federal Government began here in Ondo State.
” If INEC does its own task as a neutral umpire, we are confident that individuals of Ondo State will be victorious in choosing their governor.”
OAU Vice-Chancellor is not our returning officer– INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday denied appointing the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, as the Returning Officer for the election.
Mr Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Details and Voter Education Committee, stated in Abuja on Friday that claim by the Chairman of the PDP National Project Council and Guv of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, that the Commission had appointed Ogunbodede as the Returning Officer was untrue
Makinde likewise declared that Ogunbodede is a known crony of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and may not be fair to all in the election, and called for his immediate replacement.
But Okoye clarified that INEC’s returning officer for the Ondo governorship election is not from Ondo State or from OAU.
He said: “While the Commission will not be drawn into speculations relating to the efficiency of its constitutional and statutory functions, it is crucial to set the records straight for the advantage of individuals of Ondo State and the integrity of the electoral process.
” It is the sole responsibility of the Commission to select a returning officer for the Ondo governorship election and does not share this duty with any specific, group or political party.
” The returning officer selected by the Commission will report to the Homeowner Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State on the date communicated in his letter of appointment released numerous days earlier.
” The Commission is securely focused to conduct a complimentary, fair and peaceful election and urges all stakeholders to cooperate and play their own part in guaranteeing a serene election and not to engage in unhelpful speculation.”
Okoye said that the main concern of the Commission was to ensure a reputable electoral procedure while the outcome remains in the hands of individuals of Ondo State.
Akeredolu himself said the accusation by Makinde was humiliating and disgraceful.
Representative of the campaign council, Mr. Richard Olatunde, said in a statement that Makinde, belonging to the Nigerian Council of State, need to understand that INEC would never, under any scenario, designate a local of the state as a retuning officer, but the Oyo governor circumvented truth and decency for political exigencies.
Akeredolu’s statements checks out in parts: “We find as regrettable the declaration credited to the Governor of Oyo State and Chairman of the PDP National Project Council for the governorship election in Ondo State, Seyi Makinde, declining the Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, as the Chief Returning Officer for Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
” While it is forgivable for the PDP in Ondo State to continue to raise incorrect alarm and make spurious claims over the election, it is inexcusable for a governor like Seyi Makinde to market ignorance in such an outrageous way. This mocks, in no small step, the exalted workplace of Governor.
” As at the time he raised the objection, INEC had not even revealed the visit of a Retuning Officer for this Saturday’s election. We can not but question how and where Governor Makinde in specific, got the info.
” Guv Makinde, as a member of the Nigerian Council of State, should understand that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does not and shall never appoint a returning officer who is an indigene to administer elections. No indigene of Ondo State can ever be made a returning officer.
” By this pedestrian dance, Governor Makinde has actually shown himself to be a disgrace to public decency and the workplace he is holding.
” For us in the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation, our company believe in fairness and trustworthiness. Our trust in INEC on a totally free, reasonable and trustworthy election on Saturday stays undoubted.
” Therefore, we urge individuals of the state to disregard the lack of knowledge displayed by the PDP and Governor Seyi Makinde while readying to take part in the election on Saturday,” the statement said.
One million and four hundred thousand citizens are qualified to take part in today’s election, which has Governor Akeredolu of the APC, Eyitayo Jegede of PDP and Agboola Ajayi of Zenith Labour party (ZLP) as the frontline prospects.