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INEC, security chiefs allay fears over alleged plan to manipulate poll


INEC chairman Prof Mahmoud Yakubu

• Fayose, monarchs seek redeployment of ‘compromised’ officials
• Commission refutes claim

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to ensure free, fair and transparent election in the state.INEC Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States, Solomon Soyebi, said the July 14 election would be a model for others before it.Also pledging their commitment were the state Police Commissioner, Ahmed Bello, and the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mrs. Promise Iheanacho.

They made the commitment at Afe Babalola Civic Centre, where a Town Hall meeting supported by the DFID was organised ahead of the election.He urged the people to ensure that they collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), adding that INEC would suspend the collection by Monday next week.He disclosed that Ekiti would use enhanced card readers that are voter-friendly.

“You have the right to protect your votes. If you finish voting, stay nearby to watch the counting and the results,” he said.Governor Ayodele Fayose, had stormed the meeting, where he accused Bello and Iheanacho of deploying compromised operatives to perpetrate illegal arrests and rigging.He cited the ex-Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi, Mr. Hakeem Abiola, and expressed concern that he would lead a 70-man crack team.

This, he said is in addition to some fake policemen deployed to arrest teachers indiscriminately. Fayose gave his phone to the INEC officials to watch videos of how card readers were being pre-loaded.

Iheanacho refuted the weighty allegations raised by the governor, adding: “The DSS will provide a level-playing ground for all without giving advantage to any candidate.
She added that while it may be correct that the ex-CSO was deployed to Ekiti, it is not true that he is leading the team.

The Chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers, the
Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju, and the Attah of Ayede, Oba Abdulmumin Orisagbemi, told the security chiefs to redeploy the two ‘compromised’ men in the interest of peace.

The Chairman of the Civic Society Organisation, Clement Nwakwo, stressed the importance of the meeting to ensure credibility of the poll.Also in reaction to Fayose’s allegation of rigging against INEC, Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman, Rotimi L. Oyekanmi, dismissed them as false and lacking in substance.

In a statement, Oyekanmi said: “Our attention has been drawn to some allegations made by a serving governor, which give the impression that INEC is planning to rig the July 14 Ekiti Governorship election. We wish to state unequivocally that the allegations are untrue and baseless.”

The commission noted that it had successfully conducted elections in 180 constituencies since 2015, including five governorship elections in five different states, without being accused of rigging, adding: “Only the voters determine who wins an election.”

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