By Gbenga Ariyibi with agency reports
ADO EKITIâ€”MORE than 6,000 policemen were deployed to Ekiti State, yesterday, to beef up security ahead of todayâ€™s judgment by the Election Petition Tribunal.
The Action Congress, AC, governorship candidate, Kayode Fayemi, had filed a petition, contesting the victory of Governor Segun Oni of the Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party, PDP, in the April 25, 2009 re-run election.
The spokesman for the Ekiti State Police Commandâ€™s spokesman, Mohammed Jimoh, who announced the deployment of the policemen and officers in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Ado-Ekiti, did not, however, name the states.
Jimoh said: â€œSo far, the police have deployed mobile policemen from five neighbouring states to ensure adequate security during tomorrowâ€™s (todayâ€™s) tribunal judgment. Besides, our men have been deployed to guard public facilities in the state to ensue their safety.â€
The command spokesman said the police had requested the political parties to submit names of accredited members who would be at the venue of the tribunal before the end of work yesterday, adding that the police would provide adequate protection of lives and property during and after the judgment.
The state Chairman of AC, Chief Olajide Awe, told Vanguard in a telephone interview that the party would comply with the police directive.
Awe said: â€œAC is aware of the police directive and we have commenced the process of compiling a list of party members who will be at the venue of the judgment tomorrow (today).â€
PDPâ€™s Director of Strategy and Communication in the state, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, said the said the two political parties would arrive at the number of members who would be at the venue at a scheduled meeting with the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Kakwe Kasto.
The five-member tribunal, led by Justice Hamma Barka, had on Monday given notice of its judgment billed for today.
Fayemi is contesting the re-run election in six wards – Ifaki Wards I and II, Orin/Ora Ward, Usi Ward in Ido-Osi Local Government Area and Ipoti Wards A and B in the Ijero Local Government Area.
Panic grips citizens
Meantime, panic has gripped residents of the major towns and villages in Ekiti State as the election petition tribunal deliver its judgment on the April 24, 2009 governorshipÂ Â election re-run today.
Vanguard witnessed panic withdrawals by customers in several banks visited in the state capital yesterday. A customer of an old generation bank who spoke to Vanguard said she decided to withdraw some money for her family because â€œnobody knows where the pendulum of the judgment will swing.â€ She added: â€œI donâ€™t want to be caught unawares. The experience of 1983 in the case of Ajasin vs Omoboriowo is still fresh in my memory.â€
Todayâ€™s judgment dominated discussions by civil servants at the Secretariat and Governorâ€™s Office in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday. While some of them expressed reservations on the judgment, a number declared that they would stay away from the office today because of fear of the unknown.
Govt pleads for peace
The state government, yesterday, urged the residents to remain calm and not allow themselves to be used by the politicians who may not be favourably disposed towards the outcome of todayâ€™s judgment.
A statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Civil Orientation, Mr. Taiwo Olatunbosun, warned that those who fanned the embers of discord in the state would not be spared.
The commissioner said that security agencies had been placed on red-alert to forestall any violence and lawlessness before, during and after the judgment, adding that there would be no sacred cows as anybody caught would be made to face the wrath of the law.