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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ekiti Election : Oyebanji, Oni, Kolawole in 3-Horse Race

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Thousands of voters will today file out in the Ekiti State Governorship election to elect a new governor that will succeed Kayode Fayemi who is at the tail end of his second four-year tenure.

No fewer than 16 political parties are fielding candidates for the election, but it is expected to be a fierce battle involving Biodun Oyebanji of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC); Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bisi Kolawole of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

For most of yesterday, tension remained very high across the state, with voters bitterly divided among the three leading candidates. Fear of violence was palpable.

For seamless conduct of today’s election in Ekiti State, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, ordered the restriction of vehicular movements along entry and exit points to the state from 12:00am on 18th June, 2022 to 6:00pm of the same day.

The police added: “To this end, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the military, as well as other security agencies have been deployed across the state borders to enforce the restriction order to the letter and ensure criminal minded individuals do not infiltrate the State.”

The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Johnson Kokumo had earlier disclosed that Ekiti State would be properly secured to avoid any breakdown of law and order during the poll.

He also revealed that a total of 17,000 personnel had been deployed for the poll.
The DIG added that soldiers would be at the borders of the communities to prevent any form of intrusion.

According to him, all security operatives with VIPs should be withdrawn and returned to base for the purpose of the election. The DIG called on the people to be law abiding and to respect all the processes of the elections to be able to have a peaceful governorship election in the state.

INEC spent most of yesterday moving sensitive voting materials to the wards, while assuring all that the election would be free and fair.

The electoral umpire had earlier revealed that 988,923 voters captured in the Commission’s register would decide who becomes the new Ekiti State Governor.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu appealed to staff of the commission to be neutral and abide by the code of conduct signed by them.

He said: “I appeal to you to uphold our Code of Conduct, display your usual sense of responsibility and professionalism; remain above board and firmly resist any unethical behaviour.”

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said 734,746 persons had collected their Permanent Voters Card for the election.

Okoye assured electorates of the commission’s readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible election.

He said: “It is now a matter of common knowledge that we have 16 LGAs in Ekiti State and the election will be staged in 177 registration areas.”

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