By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Osun state, southwest Nigeria has said that it will meet with all the security agencies in the state in order to forestall a repeat of the assault some journalists were subjected to by security agents during the Ekiti state governorship poll in the August 9 election in Osun state.
INEC’s Residential Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Osun state, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje disclosed this on Thursday, 3rd July, 2014 during his maiden press conference at the commission’s headquarters in Osogbo in preparation for the governorship election in the state.
Agbaje who expressed concern to the forceful deportation of three journalists of Osun State Broadcasting Cooperation (OSBC) and a reporter of Inspiration FM during the Ekiti poll on Saturday, 21st June, 2014 noted that journalists bearing eligible accessible tags issued by INEC should be allowed to exercise their civic duties during poll.
Agbaje, who retired from the State Security Service (SSS) in 2010 said “on the harrasment of journalists in Ekiti, INEC will meet with all security agencies in the state with a view to allowing journalists with eligible accessible tags move round the state freely without any harrassment during the election.”
The REC while stating that INEC has received recommendations and complaints of Ekiti election said the commission has noted and would make necessary corrections on them in the Osun poll.
Agbaje also revealed that the electoral body will prosecute any electoral offender saying it’s not the duty of the SSS or the Police to do so. He said the commission has qualified lawyers prosecute the offenders but noted that it would seek the service of outside lawyer should the matter gets complicated.
While re-assuring electorate that INEC will be transparent in the conduct of the poll, the former Ogun state REC promised to give all political parties contesting the governorship position equal and fair treatment before, during and after the poll.
Agbaje said: “on assumption of office in the state on 1st July, 2014, I swiftly swung into action by examining the level of preparedness towards the conduct of the election by my predecessor. So far, a lot had been put in place on the part of the commissin towards the accomplishment of success in the poll.”
According to him: “the commission had embarked on the distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs), Continious Voters Registration exercise, stakeholders meetings, inter and intra transfer of voters’ cards, courtesy visits to designated persons and institutions and display of list of nominated candidates for Osun state governorship election among others.”
He revealed that the Action Alliance (AA) has changed its governorship and deputy governorship candidates from Hon. Adeyinka Adeoye and Akintobi Akintade respectively to Babatunde Oralusi as governorship candidate and Hon. Adekunle Rufai as deputy governorship candidate respectively.
Agbaje hails from Aramoko-Ekiti in Ekiti state. He is blessed with children and grand children.