By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Oyo State, Barrister Mutiu Agboke on Sunday assured that no party or candidate will be rigged out of the February 16 and March 2 general elections.
Barrister Agboke stated this while answering questions from journalists after featuring in a prayer session for gubernatorial candidates in Oyo State tagged 2019 elections: prayer for peaceful elections, organised by the Nasrul-Lahi-L-fatih Society (NASFAT), Oyo zone, held at the Samonda Asalatu ground, Samonda, Ibadan.
According to Barrister Agboke, the election that is coming “is going to be peaceful, and I want to assure you, nobody will be rigged out in anyway. INEC will do its own responsibility, the security agencies are also ready to play their own part. I want to assure that there won’t be any problem on election day.”
“We are good to go. the ballot papers are already arriving, we are waiting for the remaining consignments, and of course the deployment to the local government is already ongoing, the sensitive materials are already at various local governments, by Thursday/Wednesday, we will start deploying to Local Government areas.So, we are ready,” he said.
The REC added, ” our vehicles are on ground. we are going to start the tracking of our vehicles by tomorrow (Monday) and of course, the training of our ad hoc staff is still ongoing. By Saturday, election will come and go, and of course there will be in Oyo state.”
Speaking on the programme, Barrister Agboke stressed that “the purpose of this gathering by Nasfat is to call all the Muslim faithfuls, all the candidates of political parties and major stakeholders- National Orietation agency (NOA), INEC and NSDSC.
“To them, they want prayers for successful elections, but for it is an auspicious opportunity for us to to talk to the players. This is the first time I will see all of them together and we have told them directly that they should talk to their supporters, followers, so that we can minismise the spate of killings and political thuggery in Oyo state. And of course, because this is a house of God, I am sure they have gotten the message and I am sure they will spread it. After this, I want to see the atmosphere that is free of violence, thuggery and that is free of any unnecessary attacks from anybody.
Speaking, the Chairman, Nasfat Oyo state, Alhaji Tajudeen K. Olaosebikan declared that the programme was organised to midwife peaceful elections in Nigeria in general and Oyo state in particular adding that the coming election is facing a lot of challenges with hate speeches being in circulation among the major stakeholders, reason, the religious organisation came up with the prayer session.
“It is indeed very fitting to organise this prayer for peace to reign before, during and after election. I must admit that the challenges of peaceful election is enormous when we considered numerous hate speeches by politicians, but, this is a clarion call for all of us to do more to build and consolidate peace as well as activate violent preventive capacities. In doing this, very stakeholder is enjoined to play according to the rules.”
Alhaji Olaosebikan cautioned politicians that “winning election or public offices is not a desperate task, it is not winning power by any means necessary. It is not by smear campaign, character assassination or inciting one group against the other. It is not about hate speeches or indecent languages. It is a contest of ideas, selling of feasible policies and programmes for bettering the lives of the citizenry.”
The National Orientation Agency (NOA), Director in Oyo state, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu urged both politicians and the public to desist from posting fake result on social media.
The Chief Imam, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Mahmud Awwal, in his lecture enjoined the political stakeholder to abide by the word of God and ensure that whoever wins the election rules with the fear of God.
The programme was attended by the PDP gubernatorial candidate Engineer Seyi Makinde and his deputy, Engineer Raufu Olaniyan, Chief Bayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barrister Sharafadeen Alli of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Alhaji Saheed Ajadi of Accord, while Otunba Adebayo Alalo-Akala of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) was represented by his deputy, Professor Abideen Olaiya, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) was represented by Honourable Lanre Agoro.