Chances are high that the Ekiti State governorship election, which is only 12 days away, will be marred by the state’s long-running history of electoral violence, so security agencies must be well prepared for all possibilities.
Non-governmental organization, CLEEN Foundation, gave the advice in the latest edition of its Election Security Brief (ESB), obtained by SaharaReporters.
According to the foundation, the best strategy to effectively stem electoral violence during the June 21 election is for security agencies to be prepared to deal with issues of electoral violence in all the 177 wards and 16 local government areas across the state.
“Preparing for the worst case scenario may be the best, as contest for the governorship election increases in intensity”, it said.
CLEEN identified potential flash points as Ishan, which is the governor’s area, as well as every other area where major political figures and appointees hail from.
“Emure historically has always been problematic and right now, every candidate will want to win there because it is easier to have an LGA once you win in Emure”, read another part of the report.
“Ikere has a reputation for being volatile. There seems to be more sympathy for the PDP, though the APC is very strong there. Any electoral outcome against the popular will of the people may result in violence.
“Ijero and Ikole also need to be seriously watched. Irepodun is the local government of PDP’s Ayo Fayose and Labour Party’s Opeyemi Bamidele, and this significantly raises the likelihood of violence.”
It warned that Efon and Oye need to be watched as well, particularly Oye where the incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi hails from; and Gbonyin, where the speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly hails from.
“The people of Ido Osi are still bitter that their votes did not count in the disputed election between Kayode Fayemi and their son, Segun Oni”, CLENN further observed.
“Despite the defection of Segun Oni to the APC, the people are said to be prepared to ensure that their votes count, and particularly they are prepared for Kayode Fayemi.”
CLEEN implored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be wary of the factors that could predispose the election to violence, such as delay or non-arrival of election materials and personnel, which may be misinterpreted as an attempt to rig the election.
It observed that the history of electoral violence in the state and incidents of violence that have characterised campaign periods, as well as the mutual suspicion of rigging between the parties and candidates, and the possibility of influence from either the federal or regional authorities, are also threats to the coming election.
To avoid these dangers, the foundation urged INEC to ensure timely distribution of election materials and personnel, while enforcing the code of conduct for political parties.
It emphasised the need to prosecute electoral offenders; train DPOs, area commanders and other security agencies on election security management; strategically and promptly deploying adequate security to identified areas of threat; and adequately sensitize the electorate on the electoral process and the need to eschew violence.
A total of 18 political parties have been cleared to field candidates for the June 21, 2014 election, but the contest is expected to be between the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former governor, Ayo Fayose; candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kayode Fayemi, who is the incumbent governor; and candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Opeyemi Bamidele.