Thirty-four candidates from various political parties will on Saturday (today) contest for the Ekiti State governorship election.
There had been tension and apprehension during the electioneering, especially with the deployment of more than 30,000 security men by the police and other security agencies in the state for the poll.
According to records by the Independent National Electoral Commission, in the 16 council areas of the state, there are 177 registration areas; 2,195 polling units; and 256 polling points, with 913,334 registered voters.
However, out of the figure, 667,270 are accredited to vote, representing 73 per cent of the registered voting population.
Among those contesting to succeed Governor Ayodele Fayose are the Accord Party candidate, Jacob Aluko, 69; the All Progressives Congress candidate, Kayode Fayemi, 53; the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Kolapo Olusola, 49; and 43-year-old Aiyegbusi Oladele of the Socialist Democratic Party.
Also in the race are the Labour Party candidate, Sikiru Lawal, 59; Amuda Kazeem of KOWA Party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate, Ayodeji Ayodele, 62; and the Alliance for Democracy candidate, Ben Agboola, 49.
Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti State, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, has allayed fears that armed policemen drafted by the Inspector General of Police to the state for the election would harass the electorate.
More than 30,000 security personnel, as well as two helicopters, 250 patrol vehicles and five Armoured Personnel Carriers, had earlier been deployed in the state.
Expressing worries over the development, some voters said the heavy presence of armed policemen could scare them away from coming out to vote.
They said the state was rather too small for such a high number of policemen to have been deployed by the IGP, stating that it gave the impression that there was going to be war during the election.
However, Raji said there was no need to panic, warning those who have no Permanent Voter Cards to stay away from the polling units during the election. He noted that the Rapid Response Squad of the police would be stationed at strategic points in the state.
He also said the INEC gave enough time for registered voters to collect their PVCs and lodge complaints before the process was stopped on Wednesday.
He said, “INEC in Ekiti State is prepared for the election. We have 913,334 voters registered, out of which 667,270 have collected their permanent voter cards. This means that 667,270 will vote in Saturday’s (today) election.
“The Inspector General of Police has made public the number of security personnel drafted to the state. They are not harassing anyone. For each vehicle that went out to distribute election materials, we have a minimum of 15 armed policemen accompanying it.
“But on the day of the election (today), there will be no armed security men at the polling units. Election is a civil process, so no one will be intimidated.”
In preparation for the election, the REC said necessary measures had been put in place to ensure that there would be no delay in the commencement of the exercise.
He said, “All ad hoc staff and supervisors moved to all the registration area centres on Friday.
“By 5am on Saturday (today), the materials and ad hoc staff will start movement to the polling units. By 8am, we will start election.”