AHEAD of Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State, the electorate has been charged to troop out en masse to cast votes for their candidate of choice and refused to be intimidated.
This charge came from the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) on Thursday in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Comrade Sheriff Mulade made available to journalists in Warri, Delta State.
“We are calling on people of Ekiti State to come out en mass and vote for their choice candidates without feeling intimidated by the presence of these security agencies.
“We advocate for violence-free elections in Ekiti State,” the group noted.
While lauding the deployment of security agents to Ekiti for the poll, Mulade, however, condemned the methods being applied to manage the security situation ahead of the election.
“Employing proper security intelligence will obviously be better than deploying tens of thousands of policemen and security agents on the eve of the election to states as though we are in a state of war and which might negatively affect the turnout of voters and the outcome of the election.
“We want to commend the Nigeria Security agents for the massive deployment of security personnel to Ekiti.
“However, more worrisome about the huge deployment of security agents to Ekiti State is the perception in some quarters that the security agents may serve negative ends.
“One may ask, why should the Nigeria Police deploy as much as 30,000 police officers and men just for a governorship election?
“You can also imagine the number of soldiers, Civil Defence, DSS and other Paramilitary outfits deployed. Why not Zamfara, Plateau and Benue in the North Central were massive and cruel killings are taking place.
“The deployment is it to intimidate the people and deprive them of their rights? By this act, the people of Ekiti state are tactically disenfranchised because the presence of these number of security agents breeds an atmosphere of fear and intimidation cajoling the people to stay away from polling units and invariably denied from casting their votes.
“We are calling on security agencies, INEC and the government to provide an enabling environment free from intimidation for a free, fair and credible election.
“Security agencies especially, the police must conduct themselves professionally.
There is no war in Ekiti State, what we have is an election, therefore, the security agencies must be neutral and allow the people to freely exercise their franchise. It is the people’s right,” the Delta House of Assembly aspirant pleaded.
Meanwhile, the group has commended the international community “for showing great concern in promoting peace and security in Nigeria through training and sponsorship of Civil Society Organizations in elections and security matters.”
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