By Michael Oche
Ahead of the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State, political parties and politicians have been urged to base their campaigns on issues and refrain from making statements that could threaten the state’s existing tranquility.
Executive director of the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), Faith Nwadishi gave the advice during a stakeholder meeting held on Tuesday in Ekiti ahead of the governorship election in the state.
She also urged security agencies to guarantee adequate protection for the populace during the election seasons.
She said, “All other stakeholders should be responsible for ensuring that elections are credible, free, and fair.”
The CTA executive director expressed concerns over what she described as the low quality of campaigns ahead of the governorship election.
She said, “At this time, we in CTA are concerned about the low quality of campaigns. It is believed that politicians do not engage in campaigning, but instead save money to influence voters on Election Day.”
“Let me state unequivocally that any form of vote buying or improper financial inducement is an electoral offense. Sections 121(1)a-d, 127 of the Electoral Act of 2022 are explicit on this point (a-b). Those found guilty of bribery and conspiracy face a fine of $500,000 or one year in prison, or both, no, to vote buying and all forms of bribery.
“It is appropriate for politicians to engage in electoral campaigns. Equally, there have been reports of election violence and the militarization of the state, both of which may frighten away potential voters and people and should therefore be discouraged. We want peaceful elections in the state. Political parties should base their campaigns on issues and refrain from making statements that could threaten the state’s existing tranquility.
“In order to achieve legitimate and peaceful elections, we will continue to discuss and collaborate with all parties involved. Our votes count, and we will work to ensure that they continue to count. Indeed, this is your state and election, and your vote must count”, she added.
She expressed confidence that the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS), which will be deployed for the election, will ensure a credible election.
Nwadishi disclosed that the CTA will deploy 50 observers to the 16 Local Government Areas of Ekiti State,
She said, “In the weeks preceding the election, these observers will get training on the Electoral Act of 2022, election observation, and adherence to INEC Election Guidelines and the Covid-19 Protocols. On election day, CTA will also set up a Situation Room in Ado-Ekiti to gather reports from field observers around the state.”