Barely 48 hours to the governorship election in Ekiti State, western Nigeria, the leading candidates are locked in a last minute media campaign to woo the electorate.
With today being the final day campaigns could take place before the election on Saturday, 21 June, the candidates and their campaign organisations bought spaces in national newspapers to woo the electorate.
The leading candidates are the incumbent governor of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress, APC; former governor of the state, Ayo Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and the candidate of the Labour Party, Opeyemi Bamidele.
In one of the campaign advertorials by Fayose™s team on the front page of a national daily today, Fayose is portrayed as the biblical David with a catapult as his weapon against Fayemi and others portrayed as well armed, giant Goliaths.
Some of the newspapers were also published advertorials, one of which is a disclaimer against Fayose and his team on the alleged plan to publish campaign materials on the eve of the election and attribute the advertorial to Fayemi and his associates in order to attract legal punishment for flouting the Electoral Law. The law prohibits any form of political campaign 24 hours before any election.
Also, as the candidates engage in vile propaganda to score some political points, they rake up one another™s past for the electorate to decide who is the better candidate.
For instance, the alleged atrocities Fayose committed while in office as governor of Ekiti State between 2003 and 2006 before he was impeached, were published in one of the national dailies today. The alleged offences range from the murder of Dr. Ayo Daramola in Ijan-Ekiti in 2006 and Tunde Omojola, his arrest for corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, etc.
Fayose™s campaign organisation also capitalised on what Governor Fayemi and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State said about Fayose when the going was good. The two governors had spoken glowingly about Fayose when he was 49 on 15 November, 2009. They both described Fayose as a fearless man and an astute politician.
The candidates will today round off their campaigns, with Fayemi holding a grand rally in Ekiti.
Meanwhile, as the minutes tick toward the Saturday governorship election, the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation (KFCO) has raised the alarm over the presence of thumb-printed ballot papers allegedly seized by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Ekiti.
Consequently, KFCO called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) to explain the role of its officials in the seized thumb-printed ballot papers.
But the Fayose Campaign Organisation denied the allegation, describing it as a lie.
In a statement by the KFCO™s spokesperson, Mr. Dimeji Daniels, the group said thumb-printed ballot papers were found by agents of the Director of Security Service, (DSS) at the hotel of the Director-General of Ayo Fayose Campaign Organisation, Chief Dipo Anisulowo. The hotel is located at Are-Ekiti, Anisulowo™s hometown.
The Inspector-General of Police, MD Abubakar, also confirmed the arrest during an INEC/stakeholders round-table in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.
œThe Jega-led INEC has been making assurances about the integrity of Saturday™s election, but recent developments where thumb-printed ballot papers and form EC8A are being ferried into Ekiti State by serving ministers and found in the residences of PDP chieftains make nonsense of INEC™s assurances and shows that there are collaborators in INEC in this evil plot by the PDP to ensure that the votes of Ekiti people do not count. It also confirms our position that there is a strong presidency-hatched plot in concert with INEC to rig Saturday™s election.
œIf otherwise, INEC should explain the source of ballot papers and forms EC8A in the possession of PDP. The electoral body should also explain its moral somersault on the release of the certified copy of the voters™ register to APC. We believe this moral somersault on the part of INEC is responsible for the PDP candidate, Ayodele Fayose™s boast that he would win the governorship poll, with the assurance that fake election results would be declared in his favour by INEC.
œWhile we commend the Department of State Security for smashing this fraction of the series of plans put in place by the PDP and INEC to declare fake results on Sunday, we are aware that there is pressure on the DSS from some high places to release the PDP members caught thumb-printing ballot papers. We strongly urge the DSS not to bow to pressure to release the 22 arrested PDP agents.”
Daniels further stated: œWe equally call for a well-coordinated, thorough, unbiased and uncompromising investigation into the matter. We want to put it on record that we have totally lost confidence in the Jega-led INEC as we believe it is planning a repeat of the electoral heist it perpetrated in Anambra State. To absolve itself of complicity in this matter, INEC should allow all the polling units to be beamed live on the day of election. It should also allow for proper scrutiny of all election materials and the involvement of all political parties in the process from the beginning to the end.
œWe call on civil society organisations, well-meaning Ekiti people home and abroad and the international community to swing into action by putting pressure on the Jonathan presidency and the Jega-led INEC to abide by their constitutional oath and not set Ekiti State on fire. Nigeria cannot afford another crises in any state of the federation as the nation is still battling with the Boko Haram onslaught in the northeast.
œWe commend the people of Are-Ekiti for calling the attention of security agents to the electoral crime being committed at the hotel of Fayose™s Campaign Organisation™s DG.. Ekiti people should be alive to developments in their environment and should not hesitate to call the attention of security agencies if they notice any untoward happening. The agents of darkness are very much around and are desperately determined to return Ekiti to the days of retrogression, violence and repression. It behoves all Ekiti indigenes to be vigilant and stand up firmly to these anti-democratic elements. We should all know that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” Daniels stated.
Responding to the allegation, a staff of the Ayo Fayose Campaign Organisation, Pastor Yemi Olayinka, described it as a lie.
Pastor Olayinka said nothing like that happened and challenged KFCO™s spokesman to make public the thumb-printed papers allegedly found in the hotel.
He called on the Ekiti people to disregard the allegation.
œThat was how they lied that a minister that was bringing money for Fayose was arrested at the Akure airport. It was a wicked lie. Nothing like that happened,” he added.