Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, yesterday confronted the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Bello and the Director of the Department of State Services(DSS), Mrs. Promise Ihenacho over what he described as the deployment of compromised operatives to the state to perpetrate rigging and illegal arrests.
This is coming as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security has assured that the Ekiti election slated for July 14 will be free, fair and devoid of any form of malpractices that could vitiate the process.
The assurance was also given by INEC commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Osun States, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, the state Police Commissioner and the DSS Director at a town hall meeting organised by Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
The Chairman of the civil society organisation, Mr. Clement Nwakwo, said the essence of the meeting was to extract assurances from INEC and the security agencies that the coming election would be credible.
But Fayose alleged that the ex-Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Fayemi, Hakeem Abiola and his former Aide –De- Camp (ADC), Adeyemi Ajayi , have been clandestinely brought to the state to lead policemen to conduct illegal arrest of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and harass the electorate.
The atmosphere at the Afe Babalola Civic Centre, where the event was held became charged, as party members inside the hall threw all manners of jibes at the DSS boss as she made efforts to respond to the allegations.
In his speech, the Chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers and Oloye of Oye Ekiti, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju and the Attah of Ayede, Oba Abdulmumin Orisagbemi, told the security chiefs to redeploy the two men out of the state in the interest of peace.
But Ihenacho confirmed that the former Fayemi’s CSO was in the state, but not as a leader of a unit as alleged by the governor, and her confirmation further provoked the audience to become uncontrollable until Fayose intervened and brought the situation under control.
At this point, the police commissioner quickly intervened, saying any police officer that has political affinity with any of the interested party would not be used for the election.
“I have built a career going to 35 years in the police and I won’t want anybody to bring me down, not even any politician or even Fayose will ask me to rig
election and I will comply. We are going to give equal opportunities to all the parties and the issue you have raised will be looked into, because there are procedure we must follow , even if they are going to be redeployed”, he said.
But the governor accused the DSS boss of allegedly acting like a chieftain of the APC by ordering the arrest and detention of PDP members and some teachers.
Fayose also tendered a video evidence to INEC chiefs at the event to confirm the alleged preloading of the smart card reader by a political party in Akure, Ondo State capital.
“Free and fair election can only come when security did the right thing. On the day of election, I want all my security details to be withdrawn. But let me say that DSS have started arresting people but this will be resisted.
“You can’t be expecting a free, fair poll when people were being harassed and detained illegally and a police officer and DSS operative attached to a former governor were secretly drafted to head a detachment of force comprising about 63 men.”
In another development, the Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation has raised the alarm over the latest figures released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) putting Ekiti State’s debts at N117 billion, up from N56 billion figure it released few months ago.
A statement by the Director of Media and Publicity of the organisation, Wole Olujobi, accused Fayose of profligacy, saying the governor is deliberately piling up debts to help himself while the state remains under the bondage of suffocating debts.
He regretted that despite huge debts owed by Fayose, there is nothing to show for them except an over-priced 800-metre single-lane flyover that cost Ekiti people N17.5 billion in official records, though quoted at N6 billion to Ekiti people to escape public anger.