By Rotimi Ojomoyela
There was palpable tension at a town hall meeting organized by Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, as Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose had a face-off with the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Bello and the Director of the Department of State Services(DSS), Mrs Promise Ihenacho.
Governor Fayose had accused the security chiefs of working in cahoots with the All Progressive Congress in the deployment of allegedly compromised operatives to Ekiti to perpetrate rigging and illegal arrests.
This was as the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and security chieftains assured that the election slated for July 14 will be free, fair and devoid of any form of malpractices that could vitiate the process.
The assurances were given by INEC commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Osun States, Mr Solomon Soyebi, the State Police Commissioner and DSS Director at a town hall meeting organized by Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
The Chairman of the Civic Society Organisation, Mr Clement Nwankwo, said the essence of the meeting is to extract assurances from INEC and security agencies that the coming election will be credible.
Fayose alleged that ex-Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Dr Kayode Fayemi, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Hakeem Abiola and former Aide De Camp (ADC), Adeyemi Ajayi , have been brought to Ekiti to lead policemen to conduct illegal arrest of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and harass electorate. The atmosphere at the Afe Babalola Civic Centre, where the event was held became very tensed as party members inside the hall threw all manners of allegations at the security chiefs.
The Chairman of the traditional rulers and Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju and the Attah of Ayede, Oba Abdulmumin Orisagbemi, told the security chiefs to redeploy the two men out of the state in the interest of peace. But the DSS boss, Mrs Ihenacho who confirmed that the former CSO was in Ekiti, but not as a leader of a unit as alleged by the governor, which further provoked the audience and made them to become uncontrollable until Fayose intervened and brought the situation under control.
The CP also intervened to say that any police officer that has political affinity with any of the interested parties would not be used for the election. “We are going to give equal opportunities to all the parties and the issue you have raised will be looked into, because there are procedure we must follow , even if they are going to be redeployed”, he said.
The Governor accused the DSS boss of allegedly acting like a chieftain of the APC by ordering the arrest and detention of PDP members and some teachers.
He also tendered a video evidence to the INEC chiefs at the event to confirm alleged preloading of the smart card reader by a political party in Akure, Ondo State capital.
Fayose said: “Free and fair election can only come when security did the right thing. On the day of election, I want all my security details to be withdrawn. But let me say that DSS have started arresting people but this will be resisted.
This will be the best election — Zakari
INEC Commissioner in charge of Election Operations and Logistics, Mrs. Amina Zakari said the commission would ensure the election would end up being “the most successful election ever conducted,” in Nigeria.
Zakari, while rebuffing the governor’s allegations against her called on him to back his claim with evidence, adding the institution had gone farther than the era when polls were rigged with impunity in the country.
Her words: “They should prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. I doubt it if an individual can rig an election when there are over 20,000 personnel to conduct the election. “They should back their allegation with fact and figures. We (INEC) have nothing to hide. I see no reason why INEC would want to go back to bad old days. We are moving forward as we remain focused to ensure a credible election that Nigeria will be proud of. “I have no doubt that this will be well-organized and it will be adjudged as the most successful election ever conducted,” she said.