Monday, July 09, 2018 10.00AM / Proshare WebTV
With less than 5 days to the 2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial elections, scheduled for Saturday July 14th, 2018 expectations are high across Nigeria as it will set the pace for the season of elections to come.
Elections are one of the key components of democracies, providing an opportunity for the electorate to make their choice of the kind of leaders they want in their political system.
Nigeria’s democracy is evolving and is already 19 years in the dispensation of the fourth republic, less than a year to marking 2 decades.
As we witness another cycle of Gubernatorial elections, the key focus is Ekiti which is critical to assessing the progress Nigeria is making in her democratic journey.
Here are 5 key things to note as the election day beckons;
30,000 Security Personnel
From the Office of the Inspector General of Police, it has been established that 30,000 security personnel, 250 patrol vehicles and 2 helicopters will be deployed for the Ekiti elections.
This will be massive and is geared towards guaranteeing a peaceful and hitch-free electioneering process.
Big Test for INEC
With a politically charged atmosphere the Professor Mahmood Yakubu led Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) have a huge task in ensuring that the 2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial elections is free and fair.
The electoral umpire must ensure that all materials required for the elections arrive on time and there is no compromise in the process.
According to the INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education/ Publicity in charge of the Ekiti elections, Prince Solomon Shoyebi and reported by Punch Newspapers, about N600ml will be spent for the July 14th polls.
Also, for the elections 11,000 INEC personnel will be on duty across the 16 local government areas in the State.
This will be a major assessment to how prepared INEC is for the Osun Gubernatorial elections and the General elections in 2019.
Role of Election Observers
As is customary across the globe, there are election observers who monitor the elections to affirm its adherence to democratic best practises.
For the Ekiti Guber polls it will be expected that the over 500 observers who will participate in the elections, will do a thorough job in their fact-finding, investigation and verification of the process.
Olusola v Fayemi
There are about 25 political parties that will be actively participating in the July 14th, 2018 elections but analysts and pundits believe the two major contenders are Professor Kolapo Olusola of the ruling People’s Democratic Party and Dr John Kayode Fayemi of the major opposition party in the State the All Progressives Congress party.
Professor Olusola is the current Deputy Governor of Ekiti State and has an understanding of governance and administration in state matters.
Dr Fayemi was the former Governor of Ekiti State and Minister for Solid Minerals, with vast experience in leadership and will be seeking to regain his political base after losing to Governor Ayodele Fayose in 2014.
The stakes are high between both candidates as both parties have organized massive rallies respectively in the State capital Ado-Ekiti to woo voters.
According to INEC over 630,000 voters have collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) and are expected to vote on Saturday.
There are always concerns of voter apathy in elections in Nigeria, but the Ekiti Guber polls should excite the electorate.
The July 14th, 2018 Guber elections in Ekiti State will be another test of Nigeria’s resolve to strengthen its democratic process. It is expected that political gladiators will show maturity and allow the process to be seamless.
INEC and the security personnel have a responsibility of ensuring the election is credible, free and fair.