About 1,500,000 registered voters who have so far collected their Permanent Voter Cards will decide the next governor of Osun State during the state governorship election holding on Saturday.
The frontline contestants in the election are Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress; Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democractic Party; Lasun Yusuff of Labour Party; Akin Ogunbiyi of Accord Party; and Goke Omigbodun of Social Democratic Party among others.
Police announce restriction
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force has announced restriction on movement on the election day.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Osun election, Johnson Kokumo, announced the restriction of movement from 12 midnight on Saturday to 6pm the same day.
Kokumo spoke on Thursday at an interactive session organised by the police for security agencies, non-governmental organisations, media and accredited election observer groups ahead of the governorship election.
The police boss said persons accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission and given Osun Governorship Election tags would be free to move during the poll and urged all stakeholders to expose vote-trading wherever they observe it.
He said, “I want to appeal to you, whatever you see that is contrary to the Electoral Act 2022, let us know. Let us see, call our attention to it. It is not out of place.
“You know our zeal. You know the security personnel may not know it. You have a civic responsibility to discharge and what is that? Join hands with us in curbing crimes and criminality.
“And, of course, this includes electoral offenses. We cannot do it alone. If you join hands with us to do it, you would have succeeded in doing your bit.
“And the little things we were able to do collectively and equally are responsible for success we see in those elections we have had in Nigeria.
“People who are saddled with responsibility with special duties are free to move as far as they have their tags. From 00 hours of Saturday to 18:00 hours on Saturday, there will be restriction of movement.”
NSCDC deploys 11,226
Similarly, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi, has announced deployment of 11, 226 officers and men to cover the 3,763 polling units, collation centres, flash points as well as critical national assets and infrastructure during Osun poll.
This was contained in a statement by the Director, Public Relations, NSCDC National Headquarters, Abuja, Olusola Odumosu.
The NSCDC CG also explained that the deployed personnel were drawn from the national headquarters and nine state commands; Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, Kwara, Kogi and Edo to supply manpower for the election.
He further stated that the objectives of the corps in the election were to create a secured environment for its successful conduct and enhance the general security in the State before, during and after the election.
The statement further read in parts, “They have also been acquainted with the provisions of the Electoral Act as regards to Rules of Engagement, hence, must comply with the Corps’ Operational Code, Standard Operating Procedure and above all, display of professionalism and high sense of discipline throughout the election.
“This robust operational order has been activated to ensure a hitch free exercise and guide against molestation and intimidation of the electorates by hoodlums or party thugs.”
Audi also hinted that, in readiness for the election, the Corps’ undercover personnel from the National Headquarters have joined their counterparts in Osun State for covert operations to nip any security compromise in the bud.
According to him, Deputy Commandant General (DCG) in charge of Operations, Dauda Mungadi had been assigned to oversee the election exercise.
Also, the CG said Assistant Commandant General, Operations, Philip Ayuba, Zonal Commander, Zone J, Fasiu Adeyinka and Commandant Special Duties, Oliver Ugwuja would serve as field Commanders monitoring each senatorial district of the state.
An election monitoring group, YIAGA Africa, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission to arrest anyone attempting to involve in electoral malpractices in the Saturday’s governorship election.
Specifically, the group urged the anti-graft bodies to arrest whoever buys or sells votes during Osun governorship poll.
Speaking on Thursday in Osogbo, the state capital, the group’s Executive Director, Mr Samson Itodo, said there was a need for political parties, candidates, and their supporters to refrain from vote-buying and the related practice of compromising the ballot’s secrecy and value of the vote.
He said, “ Yiaga Africa calls for better coordination with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission in making arrests of political party leaders, agents and anyone attempting to buy or sell votes before the election and on election day.
“Security agencies should deploy monitoring mechanisms to checkmate and curtail personnel excesses on election day”.
According to him , with a different political and security terrain, the Osun election would test the resolve of election stakeholders, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies to conduct credible, transparent and peaceful election.
He appealed to the INEC’s permanent and ad hoc staff, all security agents, political party candidates and their supporters, as well as all electorate to work together to ensure that the election is credible and peaceful.
“While INEC has expressed confidence in the state of its preparedness, YIAGA Africa urges the commission not to overestimate its capacity nor underestimate potential challenges that could undermine the election.
“The voters in Osun and Yiaga Africa expect that INEC and security agencies will deliver credible, peaceful and conclusive elections, bereft of challenges of election logistics, technological failures, inconsistent application of electoral laws and guidelines, electoral violence and vote-buying”, he charged.