Igbimo Ure Ekiti, a non-political umbrella for a group of elders from Ekiti State, has urged the Independent Electoral Commission to be neutral and diligent in the conduct of the coming governorship election in the state.
The IUE cautioned INEC against what it called the saga of the 2014 election in the state which, it noted, was marked by the involvement of soldiers in the alleged manipulation of the process.
In a statement signed by the group’s President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; and its Secretary, Sir Remi Omotoso, IUE urged the electoral body to let the people’s votes count.
The IUE said, “The saga of the 2014 election with the embarrassing revelation of the alleged involvement of soldiers in the alleged manipulation of the election process and the alleged confession of the deployment of funds to influence process have yet to be resolved. In the coming election, IUE appeals to INEC to be transparent, diligent and accountable in order to ensure that the election is not only proclaimed to be free and fair but actually seen to be free of any scandal.
“INEC should ensure that whatever technology is deployed for the election is foolproof and will be a convincing improvement on previous methods. The IUE expects INEC to be an independent, fair and reliable umpire.”
The group, with members drawn from within and outside Nigeria and across disciplines, enjoined political parties and their candidates to respect decency and shun any form of violence during the election.
According to the IUE, most of the elections in the state have been characterised by violence, which, it adds, has been giving the state a bad name.
It recalled what it called Ido Osi episode and Oye skirmishes and the “inconsistencies of Madam Ayoka Adebayo” in the recent past.
The IUE warned traditional rulers and youths against complicity in rigging and other activities that could mar the exercise.
The elders said, “Politicians should not make Ekiti youths political thugs, hirelings and cannon fodder during the process of the election. It must be realised that to destroy these youths physically, mentally or psychologically is tantamount to destroying the future of Ekiti State.