Olugbenga ADANIKIN reporting from Ondo State
RESIDENTS of Kiribo, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State have agreed to exercise their voting rights peacefully to ensure that the governorship election holding in the state on Saturday is free, credible, and fair.
Youths, women, and party leaders in the community who spoke during separate interviews with The ICIR, Friday assured that the election would be violent free.
Kiribo is the ancestral home of Agboola Ajayi, the current Deputy Governor of the state and a governorship candidate for Saturday’s election. He is contesting under the platform of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
Ojodu Samuel, one of the youth representatives said proactive steps were taken by the youth groups to foster a peaceful poll.
While disclosing that there has been a consensus reached among the chiefs and elders, he said representatives went around the town with megaphones warning the people against violence.
“There won’t be violence in tomorrow’s election. We have taken needed steps this morning to go round the community to ensure the election is peaceful,” Samuel said.
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“We did not campaign for anyone this morning but we just told them to visit the polling unit, and vote for people of their choice.”
Oluwatobi Nupe, shared a similar view with the assurance that the poll would be credible.
“Vote for whoever you want and return home peacefully, that’s what we were told,” he noted.
Though, Agabo Bamidele, another youth leader in the area recognised voters at the various polling units have always been violent during elections, he said the peace meeting commenced early in the week.
Oba’s Wife takes peace talk to the market square
Queen Asere Ajayi, wife to the traditional ruler of Kiribo also acknowledged some of the peace moves. She told The ICIR how she has been advocating for a truce ahead of the poll in the market square and among youths.
“I was still at Kiribo market this morning encouraging women to support the peace efforts,” she said adding that they were told to advise their wards,” Ajayi said.
According to her, people can only benefit from the government if they are alive.
Etofo Pius, a retired Nigerian Telecommunications Staff was optimistic about a peaceful poll. He said the community has been looking forward to the poll.
The 72-year-old adduced to earlier assertions of how respective party leaders met to discuss and agreed for the election to be peaceful.
“The youth leaders and the Excos went round the town preaching peace about the election,” he added.
Iwapele Tolo, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the community prayed the incumbent governor wins the election.
Though he expressed concern about the population of security personnel drafted to the state, it’s for the voters’ interest.
As of 4 pm when The ICIR visited the Local Government Area (LGA), Agboola Ajayi was yet to arrive at his home town. The entire community was peaceful.