The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and member of the National Peace Committee, Rev Matthew Kukah, on Wednesday implored voters in Ekiti State to take advantage of the off-season elections and vote to install leaders of their choice on Saturday.
He spoke in Ado Ekiti during the signing of peace accord among governorship candidates in the forthcoming governorship election in the state which was organised by the National Peace Committee.
11 governorship candidates participated in the signing of the peace pact.
Kukah, who appealed to the electorate to “live up to the ideals of your state, integrity and honour,” urged them to take a cue from Edo, Anambra and Ondo states where credible and violence-free elections were conducted.
“We appeal to all the political actors to ensure that they do not see the signing of the peace accord as a mere formality and a photo opportunity. May the friendship exhibited here follow you through the election,” he said.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, lauded the NPC for the peace accord and as well the traditional rulers for working voluntarily for peaceful elections.
Yakubu, who said the peace accord had contributed immensely to peaceful conduct of elections, expressed confidence that the election in the state would be credible, free, fair and transparent.
The INEC boss assured voters, saying, “The votes of people of the state will count,” as he appealed to the parties and their candidates “to work according to the spirit of the peace pact.”
This is coming as the Social Democratic Party governorship candidate, Chief Segun Oni, on Wednesday dismissed insinuations that he had signed pact with the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to step down from the governorship contest.
Oni, who said though he would not deny the fact that himself and the former Lagos State governor were once intimate political bed-fellows, stated that Tinubu’s emergence as presidential candidate would not make him abandon his governorship bid.
The SDP standard-bearer, who spoke at a press briefing, said, “Let me say that this is a lie, I have not seen Tinubu for over a year now. I am here for the Ekiti people and will not compromise their interest for anything.
“I am not also desperate. I am a contented person and I am not a person that can be bought with money, I can’t be purchased. I did not meet anybody anywhere to compromise my candidacy.”
However, the Young Progressives Party has received scores of Action Democratic Party members led by ADP former deputy chairman in the state, Chief Oguntominiyi, into the party by the YPP state Chairman, Owoola Daramola.
Oguntominiyi said his group’s action was because “it is obvious that the YPP is the only party with the ideology that can bring the much development to the state. The YPP standard-bearer, Debo Ajayi, is the only candidate with meaningful programmes designed to move the state forward.”
While Daramola assured the new entrants that the party was open to them and promised to inculcate them into its affairs, Ajayi, thanked them, assuring that he would deliver on all his promises.
Meanwhile, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Audi, has deployed 9,747 operatives to the state.
The Corps Director of Public Relations, Olusola Odumosu, in a statement on Wednesday, said Audi approved the deployment of the officers to provide watertight security during the election.