By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Barely few days to the conduct of the Local Government elections in Ekiti State slated for December 4, the State Independent Electoral Commission(SIEC), has assured participants that no politician will be allowed to hijack and manipulate the outcome of the elections.
Addressing journalists in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the Chairman of the Commission,Justice Jide Aladejana, said the electoral body would conduct free, fair and credible polls that would meet the yearnings of all participating parties in the state.
Aladejana disclosed that six political parties, which were duly screened and accrefited, will participate in the elections out of 10 parties that indicated interests in the local government contests.
The EKSIEC Chairman gave their names as: Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress(APC), National Reduce Movement(NRM), and Young Progressives Party (YPP) .
He added that the elections will hold in the 16 statutory local governments and the 19 Local Council Development Areas(LCDAs) across the 2,195 polling units in the state .
“We are going to make these elections free, fair and credible. This is our target and nothing can stop us. We won’t allow anyone to manipulate the process. We are going to be as transparent as possible by monitoring the process and ensure that the votes of the people count”.
The SIEC Chairman stated that the sensitive materials for the conduct of the elections will only be made public on the eve of the elections to avoid manipulations.
He added that the fact that the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party will boycott the polls doesn’t vitiate the process, saying they did it out of their volition.
“All of us are participants in the electoral system, but the only difference is that the political parties must sponsor candidates. A delegation of PDP visited the day the collection of expression of intent forms was to close.
‘They said they had just got clearance from the national body to participate in the elections and sought extension of time, which I said I couldn’t do alone.
“They left on the note that they will send somebody to get the forms that day. As we are talking now, no form was collected. In some areas where only one candidates emerged, we were empowered by laws to extend by seven days, despite, they didn’t come to collect the form”.
On actions taken by the commission to sensitize the voters and reduce vote apathy, Aladejana clarified that the commission did excellently well in this area through extensive consultations with political parties and voters.
“The elections held in 2019 had 32 percent participation , which was above governorship and presidential Elections. . We did much sensitisation for our people.
“We are ready for these elections. We have tarained our Ad hoc staff and the Electoral officers in the 16 Local governments and 19 LCDAs. We will work with security agencies to caution those who may wish to disrupt the conduct of these elections”.