Ruling All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party and 13 other political parties are jostling to produce the next governor of Ekiti State in today’s election. The exercise is scheduled to hold across the 2,445 polling units in the 16 local government areas of the state.
The other parties include Accord Party, African Action Congress, African Democratic Congress, Action Democratic Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Allied Peoples Movement, Action Peoples Party, Labour Party, New Nigeria People’s Party, National Rescue Movement, Peoples Redemption Party, Young Progressives Party and Zenith Labour Party.
Meanwhile, in a sequel to the signing into law the Electoral Bill, assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 25, 2022, Independent National Electoral Commission says it will begin the electronic transmission of results with the Ekiti governorship election. It’s the first election the commission is conducting since the all-important bill became law.
The Act empowers the commission to transmit election results in a way it determines.
Section 50 of the Act reads, “Subject to section 63 of this Act, voting at an election and transmission of results under this Act shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.”
Asked if the commission would commence the much-awaited electronic transmission of result with the election, Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said in an interview with one of our correspondents, “Yes, Ekiti governorship election results will be transmitted electronically.
“After the election and completion of the result management procedure at the polling unit, the Presiding Officer would transmit a clear image of the Form EC8A for purposes of collation. This image goes to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
He however noted that there would still be manual transmission of results to complement the electronic option. He added, “The PO (Presiding Officer) will also deliver by hand, the hard copy of the Form EC8A and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System to the Registration Area Collation Officer.”
749,065 voters to elect new gov
Meanwhile, only about 749,065 voters will elect the next governor of the state. The figure is the number of registered voters who had, as at Monday, collected their permanent voter cards from INEC. There are 988,923 registered voters in the state.
As part of efforts to ensure a smooth election, the joint team of security agencies deployed for the election for the second day embarked on a show of force round Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on Friday.
The team which lined up two Armoured Personnel Carriers and 13 trucks conveying personnel of Nigerian Army, police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, moved from the police headquarters to major streets of Ado Ekiti, thus causing heavy traffic along the routes, just as police helicopters engaged in aerial surveillance.
While the police deployed 17,374 personnel, Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps deployed 9,747 personnel, in addition to the heavy deployment of men of the Nigerian Army. Federal Fire Service also brought into the state men and fire-fighting trucks for the election.
Mass votes buying most likely – KDI
A non-governmental organisation, the Kimpact Development Initiative, has said there is an indication that there will be massive vote-buying in the election.
Kimpact’s Executive Director, Bukola Idowu, said there was the need for security agencies to be professional to curb the menace. It also asked INEC officials to allow free and fair elections.
Idowu, who spoke in Ado Ekiti, said the organisation’s findings also indicated that there would be violence in some parts of the state during the election, while urging the security agencies to be professional.
Idowu said, “KDI is predicting a ridiculous widespread of vote-buying during the Saturday election particularly in Ekiti Central Senatorial District. INEC and security agents should be up and doing during the election.”
He said the findings of the organisation revealed that kidnappings and fake news might occur in Ekiti North and Ekiti South Senatorial Districts during the election.
CSO sets up Fake News Hub
Meanwhile, an independent capacity building organisation, Centre for Democracy and Development, on Friday set up a Fake News Hub domiciled in the centre’s Election Analysis Centre in Abuja.
Director of the Centre, Idayat Hassan, said the Centre, chaired by Jinadu Adele, and assisted by seasoned governance and election experts, “will be providing accurate and real time analysis of events before, during and post-election period”.
Hassan, represented by a senior programmes officer, Austin Aigbe, said, “The negative effects of fake news include manipulation and distortion of facts that could mislead voters, affect turnout, heighten political tensions to incite electoral violence. Thus, Fake News Hub will spot, identify, investigate and counter fake news during this election.”
Also, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Co-convener, James Ugochukwu, who hailed INEC for the smooth distribution of sensitive materials from INEC headquarters two days to the election, however, said, “Situation Room will be holding INEC accountable for its commitment and assurances.”
Meanwhile, INEC has said it is working with relevant agencies to tackle the menace of vote-buying.
Oyekanmi said in the interview with Saturday PUNCH, “The commission is working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and other law enforcement agencies to tackle the menace of vote buying and selling. So, it is not just about what INEC is going to do. Other agencies also have the responsibility of curbing the vice.”