By Dayo Johnson, Akure
The soldiers, police and other security agencies today engaged in a ‘show of force’ ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo state.
They patrolled the major streets of Akure, the state capital and other towns in the state in a bid to warn political thugs and those who might want to cause violence during the poll. They mounted their Armoured Personnel Carriers APC and vans as they patrolled the major streets blaring siren.
Recall that during the electioneering campaign of the political parties, many people were injured and the party’s properties destroyed. Election observers have warned that if the Pre-election security threats are not neutralised before the poll, there may be violence which will affect the turn out of voters.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Democracy and Development, a think tank and one of the election observers in Ondo State, has said its survey showed that there were 34 incidents of election-related violence between August and now in the state, with 12 of the clashes happening during campaigns of political parties.
It urged the security agencies to ensure that law and order prevailed on Saturday during the election, while also asking the Independent National Electoral Commission to live up to the people’s expectations.
The Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, said INEC should ensure speedy transmission and release of results in difficult terrain areas of the state particularly, where rigging and electoral violence were feared to take place.
“A trend analysis of data gathered so far indicates that group clashes, attacks on party secretariats and political rallies and campaigns by thugs and party supporters escalated in most local government areas across the state with the highest number of cases reported in Akure South and Idanre LGAs.
“Of the 34 incidents of electoral violence reported between August and early October 2020, at least 12 cases of clashes during campaigns were reported. We call on the security agencies to monitor movement into Ondo State from other states.”
It advised INEC to be wary of using vehicles of the transport unions, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Motorcyclists Association for the movement of sensitive materials on the election day.“
” The partisan posture of these unions could pose challenges, which may create credibility and logistics problems for the entire process. Incidentally, the NURTW is the body INEC relies on for the transport of electoral materials.
“Hassan said ” This may create a problem for INEC in the area of getting materials to all voting areas in the state,”