The campaign for the July 14th governorship election in Ekiti State will open next week, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made this known.
Chairman of INEC Prof. Mahmud Yakubu said that the agency will paste the notice of election on Wednesday after which parties were free to campaign.
He said; the campaign will commence in Ekiti on April, 15th while political parties are expected to conduct their primaries simultaneously with the commencement of campaign between April 15th and May 14th.
The INEC Boss said the election in Ekiti will hold in all the 16 local government areas across 177 wards and 2,195 Polling Units, he added “In the case of Osun Governorship election, the notice of election will be posted on June 23rd, campaigns will commence on June 24th while the party primaries for the selection of candidates will hold between June 24th and July 23rd.”
Prof. Yakubu told Inspector general of Police Ibrahim Idris during a visit that the agency was worried about vote buying during the election at polling units.
He said such an act is a violation of the electoral law and tantamount to electoral malpractice. To him, this should not be allowed to continue.
Yakubu reminded the police of its responsibility to halt the ugly trend.
“There is something that is extremely worrisome to INEC and that is open vote buying at polling units. We have seen that in more recent elections.
“This is a violation of the electoral act, it is malpractice and you have the responsibility to ensure that this practice is stopped forthwith.
Our democracy can never be on sale to the highest bidder, ours is a democracy and not a plutocracy for the rich.
“Therefore I would like to appeal to the IGP, as we approach the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and as we move to the 2019 general elections to pay particular attention to this disturbing practice.
“We will be happy if the police will deploy Special Forces beginning with Ekiti and Osun to ensure that what transpires at the polling units is nothing but the will of Nigerians.
Only the votes cast freely by citizens would determine who wins the elections not the inducement of citizens by the use of cash at polling units during elections. I am confident that given the level of cooperation and synergy we have with the police, this matter will be addressed.”
He also posited that “the Police are the lead agency for election security, it is essentially responsible for securing the environment for the commission to deploy and to conduct free and fair elections.