Eligible voters with their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) totalling 749,065 in Ekiti are expected to file out on Saturday June 18th across the 177 wards in the 16 local government areas of the state to elect the next governor to take over from Governor Kayode Fayemi.
All eyes are on Ekiti as the 16 governorship candidates square up for the votes of the electorate in an election that is historic in nature. Its historical significance is tied to the fact that it is the first election to be conducted with the new Electoral Act 2022.Therefore it is a litmus test for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its quest to reawaken citizens’ interest in Nigeria’s electoral system.
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) expects nothing less than a hitch-free, credible, transparent, free and fair election. INEC has been preparing for this off-season election since the Anambra governorship election in November 2021.Therefore there is no room for failure. It should ensure those charged with the task to operate the Bimodal Accreditation Voting System (BVAS) are sufficiently ready for a hitch-free exercise.
We expect the Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC to stay true to its words of assurance to political parties and voters,“that the task of electing a new governor will be left in the hands of voters”. His promise that “we won’t take any action to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate” should be sacrosanct. It is our expectation that INEC would ensure strict adherence to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 in the conduct of the election.
Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba’s declaration for adequate security during and after the elections across the state which has inspired confidence, should be upheld. We expect the 17,374 Police personnel deployed to police the 2,445 polling and the combined team of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and Nigerian Army, to be enough to guarantee a credible exercise. The IGP should ensure his words that, “those who want to constitute a clog in the wheel of progress will face the consequences of their election,” is not an empty threat. Electoral offenders should be made to face the law.
We implore all residents of Ekiti with PVCs to come out and vote. The cheering news that 76% out of the 998,923 eligible voters have collected their PVCs as at June 14 2022 should not end there. It is one thing to collect PVC and another thing to actually come out and vote. Voting is a right and civic responsibility that should be discharged with utmost sense of responsibility as it confers on the people the power to pick a candidate of their choice to govern them. This civic responsibility should not be treated with levity as a wrong choice would have lasting implications for the progress and development of Ekiti State in the next four years.
Deployment of security and law enforcement agents is to provide an enabling environment for voters to exercise their civic responsibility and not to militarise the state by creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Political parties and the candidates should play by the rules of the game. They should desist from vote-buying and voter’s harassment, while the electorate should be guided by their conscience to reject bribes. The people of Ekiti should be allowed to vote in a rancour less environment, and their votes must count.