The Concerned Oodu’a Stakeholders, a coalition of self-determination and pro-democracy groups, on Monday raised the alarm on alleged plots by some politicians to derail the November gubernatorial election in Ondo State.
At a press conference in Lagos, the group’s national coordinator, Kola Are, said only a free, fair, credible and non-violent election can stop a repeat of incidents that triggered the violence in the state leading to the termination of the Second Republic in 1983.”
“We are not unaware of the desperation of certain political actors in the bid to showcase their relevance in the Southwest politics.
“These gladiators within and outside the state are determined to use Ondo State as the turf for test-running their relevance and as a way of shoring up their popularity for the presidential race in 2019.
“These gladiators are already working round the clock and behind the scene and hell bent on fomenting crises in Ondo State unless they achieve their selfish aim.
“These actors are perfecting means of legitimizing their nefarious actions through the muzzling of the electoral body, militarization of the process, harassment and intimidation by security operatives, monetization and high-wire media propaganda,” he said.
The group said INEC’s performance in recently held elections in the country had not inspired confidence.
“It is no longer news that the integrity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been unduly strained by that lacklustre and cheeky commitment to the sanctity of the electoral process in recent months,” said Mr. Are.
“However, the unfolding political realities are pointers to possible re-enactment of the desperation that led to the arm-twisting of INEC with respect to Edo governorship poll and the eventual manipulation of the electoral process.”
The group urged the INEC and security agencies not to fail in their role as organiser and monitor of the electoral process in the state.
It called on Nigerians to caution INEC and the security agents against tinkering with the process in Ondo State.
“We would not accept a situation where results returned at the polling units would be different and at variance with the final results that would be announced by INEC as outcome of the election,” Mr. Are said.
“We would mobilise the electorate in Ondo State to protect their votes and to vehemently reject any result that does not represent the collective wishes and aspirations of the people.”