Posted by News Express | 17 June 2014 | 4,518 times
Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) shunned a ‘High Level Stakeholders Meeting for Political Parties, Candidates and Traditional Rulers’ as part of measures to ensure a successful and violent-free election.
The trio of incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi of APC, former governor Ayo Fayose of the PDP and Hon. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele of the LP are the major contenders of the election whose campaigns have been characterised by various degrees of violence.
No reasons were given for their absence at the meeting organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the Democratic Governance for Development Project (DGD II) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
While 18 of the 26 registered parties are fielding candidates for the election, 19 other parties including six candidates whose parties are contesting the election were present at the meeting which also witnessed the joint signing of a non-violence/peace pact (Electoral Pact) by the parties and other stakeholders.
Speaking at the event, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Prof. Atahiru Jega, said the commission will not tolerate violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act especially those contained in Section 129 on the conduct of parties and electorates on Election Day.
Jega represented by INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Lai Olurode, said the failure of the Ekiti election would be an embarrassment and a disaster for Nigeria as the world is watching the conduct to judge how the 2015 general elections would be.
“We at the commission have taken several measures to avoid the pitfalls of the Anambra Governorship election, not that we did not prepare adequately, but providence had a way of intervening despite all measures we took. We have however put many things into consideration including the restructuring in the commission among other conflict-mitigating measures.
“We will stop the distribution of permanent voters’ card tomorrow. Those without the permanent cards will not be allowed to even come near the poling units. Though we will not use the Biometric to verify the cards to detect fake voters’ cards we heard are in circulation, we however have a register that contained the details of those with permanent voters’ card, and would be used to verify the cards,” he said.
CDD Director, Ms. Idayat Hassan, said the meeting was held due to the importance attached to the election by Nigerians and the need to ensure constant success of elections to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
She noted that those at the meeting have been known to have the ears of politicians, electorates and other stakeholders.
Traditional rulers at the meeting were Ajero of Ijero Oba Adebayo Adewole, Alara of Aramoko, Oba Adegoke Adeyemi, Oba Adebambi Adeleye, Oba James Aladesuru, Oba Agunbiade Oladiran and Oba S. A. Aderiye who all pledged to ensure the success of the elections and also appealed to all stakeholders to ensure the success of the election.
•Text courtesy of Daily Trust, photo of Fayemi-Fayose-Bamidele courtesy of Daily Sun.
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