No less than 2,500 personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were part of other security outfits that provided security for the general election on Saturday in Osun State.
The Commandant, Mr Ebenezer Aboluwoye who was also on the field monitoring election said the organisation works in collaboration with other security agencies.
He stressed the Corps’ commitment to ensuring the security of lives and property of the citizenry.
Aboluwoye advised parents and guardians to warn their wards against being used as political thugs in Saturday’s election.
“Violence of any sort will not be tolerated let alone stealing of ballot box. Everyone should desist from any act that contravenes the electoral laws” he said.
While allaying the fears of the stakeholders, the Civil Defense boss encouraged electorates to participate actively in the process to exercise their civic right.
He assured everyone of adequate security while calling on the good people of Osun to call the emergency numbers in case of any unpleasant situation.
Elections and voting
Meanwhile, the election is going on peacefully in Osun State without major hitches.
Independent National Electoral Commission officials, ad hoc staff and electoral materials arrived as early as 6.30 a.m, just as many voters also got to their polling units as early as 7.00 a.m.
The security outfits were civil as they secured easy passage for voters who trekked or travelled long distances to cast their votes. Voting exercise was generally peaceful too.
Gov. Gboyega Oyetola along with his wife, Alhaja Kafayat Oyetola voted at Ward 001, Unit 002, Popo Area in his home town in Iragbiji at 10.32am without any hitches.
The governor praised the near-perfect performance of INEC and gave a thumb up for the security agents for their unbiased role and for rising to the occasion.
He also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the INEC and providing a level playing ground for all.
Oyetola described the exercise as a marked improvement over previous exercises and expressed confidence in the ability of INEC to give Nigerians credible polls.
“From what I have observed and the available reports, the conduct of the election showed that the exercise had been free and fair. I am therefore appealing to the people to come en masse to exercise their franchise without fear, as the atmosphere was conducive.
The governor appealed to the foreign interests to support Nigeria’s political process, knowing democracy is a learning process, rather than assume that Nigeria could not organise a free, fair and credible election.
At Ward 1 Unit 003, St Peters, Obokun Local Government in Osun East Senatorial District, voters trooped out en masse with the aged, pregnant women and People Living with Disabilities casting their votes.
A 75-year-old man, Jonathan Daramola who voted at Ward 1 Unit 003, St Peters, Obokun Local Government said he had voted in all elections since Independence.
Mr Daramola advised those who collect money from politicians before voting against the practice.
“At my age, why would I collect money to vote. Why will I mortgage the future of my children? At my age, I have gone beyond the age of struggling to build houses or buy cars. All I care for is a better Nigeria and a secured future for my children.
A 20-year-old, Mutairu Oladele who was voting for the first time at Ward 3 Unit 10 & 11 Ataoja ‘C’ Laro-Timehin Middle School, Osogbo, Osun State, expressed joy for the opportunity to determine his future with his hands.
“I am overwhelmed with joy for today. I am voting for the first time in my life. Four years ago, I was less than 18 and I couldn’t vote. But today, I am happy that I have the opportunity to determine my future by voting my choice candidates.”
Voice of Nigeria Correspondents also spoke with people living with disabilities who expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the poll.
One of them, Wasiu Adebayo, who also voted in Ward 1 Unit 003, St Peters, Obokun Local Government was very grateful to INEC for the arrangement which allowed them to vote without stress.
He urged INEC to keep up the good work just as he praised the security arrangement that made it possible for the people living with disabilities to perform their civic responsibility.
Mr Wole Oke who represents Oriade – Obokun Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives and who is seeking re-election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party cast his vote at Unit 10 Ward 7 in Esa Oke town.
Oke gave thumbs-up to the INEC, saying, “So far, so good, with the arrangement on the ground, I am satisfied. All in all, it has been very peaceful and I pray it ends this way. The security arrangement has been very encouraging and has put everyone on its toes.”
“Everything has been peaceful and INEC has performed creditably well”, he said.
Dr Siji Olamiju of the All Progressives Congress who is contesting the same seat with Wole Oke also commended the security arrangement, describing it as excellent.
While acknowledging some minor security challenges, particularly from some political thugs in few isolated cases, Olamiju praised their quick responses in every occasion they were called upon.
He also commended the INEC officials for the early arrival of materials and comprehensive arrangement which he said was enabled by the postponement.
From Adeyinka Aremu, Osogbo