As Ekiti Goes To Poll …

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The people of Ekiti State will file out in the next 24 hours to elect their new governor in what is expected to be a contentious election. Already, there is serious tension in the air in Ekiti State, following last Wednesday’s alleged attack on Governor Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Professor Kolapo Olusola who is the governorship flagbearer of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, by the police.
Although there are about eight political parties contending for the governorship seat of the State, the real battle has been narrowed down to two major contenders, the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) which fields the former Governor of the State and the immediate past Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi as its flagbearer.
Ekiti is known to be a politically conscious, yet volatile State since the First Republic. We recall the electoral crisis of 1983 in the old Ondo State (comprising the present Ondo and Ekiti States) which occasioned loss of several lives and destruction of properties. We also recall that between 2007 and 2010, the gubernational elections in Ekiti State have been characterised by killings and destruction, with pervasive fear and trepidation among the citizenry.
In recent times too, we note with serious anxiety, the tension that has enveloped the State since the electoral process began in the State few months ago. Shooting, hate speeches and tough talks have pervaded the air across all the political divides, especially between the two major parties in the State.
Ekiti people must, therefore, learn from history by not repeating the same mistakes again. The State which is highly regarded as the fountain of knowledge because of its high number of academia should not be made a theatre of war in the unbridled, mad and selfish ambition to grab power at all cost.
Tomorrow’s election, therefore, will be a litmus test for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies and the people of Ekiti State to rewrite history.
Already, the police have deplored over 30,000 police personnel, including an Assistant Inspector General of Police, five Commissioners of Police, eight Deputy Commissioners of Police and 18 Assistant Commissioners; two helicopters, five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) with other military and para-military officers on ground to provide security cover for a smooth and hitch free poll.
The Tide is, however, worried that in spite of the high presence of security personnel in the State, there was still a breach of security in the State going by the attack allegedly unleashed on Governor Fayose and the PDP candidate.
We condemn this attack on constituted authority and we urge the police and other security agents to retrace their steps. We fear that any further provocation by any arm of the security forces may lead to the breakdown of law and order and might even lead to the truncation of the electoral process in Ekiti State. We say this because, an attack on a State governor by gun-throttling policemen is the highest of provocation that should not be tolerated by any right-thinking Nigerian.
The Tide, therefore, admonishes the security apparatchik to rein in on their men to be civil, professional and non-partisan in their duties. We also appeal to politicians and their followers to play the game by the rules. Election should not be a do or die affair; what should be paramount is the interest of the State.
INEC too must exhibit competence, high sense of patriotism, neutrality and impartiality in Ekiti gubernatorial poll. Only this can exonerate the electoral body from any form of complicity with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the federal level. INEC must ensure that the rules are not bent to favour any candidate or political party.
All stakeholders should bear it in mind that the success or failure of Ekiti governorship poll will determine the fate of the 2019 general elections in the country. It will be disastrous if, after the country’s 19 years of uninterrupted democracy, the nation still moves in a circus show.