ARMED security agents are parading the streets of Ado-Ekiti and other parts of Ekiti State ahead of Saturday’s gubernatorial election.
The ICIR sighted personnel of the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) also known as Operation Amotekun, in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday.
There were also security checks at strategic entry and exit points across the state.
The ICIR also observed mild traffic gridlocks most especially in Ado-Ekiti due to the movement of the troops.
Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba had said the heavy security presence in the state was not to intimidate voters but to provide security for the successful conduct of the election.
Baba said this on Tuesday during the Election Stakeholders’ Meeting on Ekiti State Governorship Election in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
“Let me say this, the massive deployment is not to scare the citizens but to protect the sanctity of the ballots and the provisions of the Electoral Act,” he said.
The IGP noted that the 177 wards and 2,445 polling units in Ekiti State would be manned by appropriate number of security operatives.
He warned that the security operatives would not condone the disruption of the electoral process by political thugs.
“All the parties must embrace the virtues of democracy. We will not allow any person or group of persons to disrupt this election no matter how highly placed. Let all the contenders provide the moral leadership so that we can achieve success together,” he said.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the gubernatorial election is being contested by 16 candidates.
Political watchers and residents of the state are of the view that the election will be a keen contest among the three leading political parties in the state — All Progressives Congress (APC), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
For the APC, the immediate past Secretary to the State government, Biodun Oyebanji is the flagbearer. The 54-year-old is banking on the support of the incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi.
Bisi Kolawole, the PDP candidate in the state triumphed in the primaries with the support of a former governor Ayodele Fayose.
The SDP candidate, Olusegun Oni, joined the party after losing out in the PDP primaries. He defected to SDP to become the party’s flagbearer for the election.