The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated its resolve and readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible poll in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmmod Yakubu, gave this assurance at the stakeholders’ forum held in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
Yakubu said the Commission had held a meeting with the candidates and party stalwarts to restate its readiness and reel out its plans for the exercise.
According to him, the meeting also afforded the heads of security agencies led by the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris to interact with politicians and other major players.
In the same vein, the forum provided an avenue for the fine-tuning of all pertinent issues to ensure successful conduct of the poll.
He said 35 political parties shall be participating in the election that will be held across the 16 Local Governments in Ekiti.
On security matter, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris said 30,000 policemen and 4000 other security officers shall be deployed to enable a hitch-free exercise.
He won said assured Nigerians of non-partisanship of the security operatives but warned that the police and other law enforcement agents would not tolerate any breach of law and other by party supporters.
The meeting, however, ended abruptly as participants left in annoyance without resolutions and commitments to peace which usually characterises such an exercise.
The interactions had started on a peaceful note with the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ekiti state Abdulganiyu Raji stating the readiness of the commission for the conduct of Saturday election.
Similarly, the National Commissioner for Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states Solomon Soyebi also announced the extension of the collection of permanent voter cards.
But sooner than the microphone was handed over to the Peoples Democratic Party representative, Samuel Omotosho who spoke about alleged intimidation, than his supporters practically took over the stage, chanting the party name of their aspirant, Prof Kolapo Olusola.
All efforts to calm the unruly crowd by the Chairman of Ekiti traditional rulers, Oloye of Oye, Oba Michael Ademolaju led to more charge on the side of PDP enthusiasts.
The disruption eventually forced the INEC Chairman, the Inspector General of Police and candidates of other political parties to leave the meeting without a conclusion.
This was the third time stakeholders conference on Ekiti election would be disrupted in a similar manner.
First was the INEC Stakeholders Conference held at Hassanat Hall in Ado Ekiti, the second was another peace meeting called by the Election Situation Room last week Monday.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo