As part of preparations towards conducting credible Local Government polls, the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) has started a Sensitization tour of Local Government Areas in the State.
The tour began from Sabogida- Ora, the headquarters of Owan West Local Government Council, to Afuze, the office of Owan East, and moved on to Igara, the centre of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, where EDSIEC officials were received by the Heads of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) in the various councils.
Addressing the Council Heads, the Chairman of the Commission, Hon. Justice James Uyi Oyomire, informed them that the Commission was in the council areas to sensitize the people on the fast-approaching September 2, 2023, Local Government elections.
He reiterated that the elections would hold as scheduled while calling on the electorate and politicians alike to play by the rules and avoid anything that can sabotage the election process.
Addressing the traditional rulers in the area, the Chairman called on them to advise their subjects to shun violence and politics of bitterness, stating that they should rather exercise their voting rights for their preferred candidates.
He further charged the youths and the motorcycle riders, popularly called ‘Okada riders’ not to allow themselves to be used as political thugs and ballot box snatchers, noting that security agents would be on the ground to arrest any violator, especially as the Chairman of the Commission has all it takes to prosecute detained anyone, being a retired judge.
Justice Oyomire, therefore, appealed to the law enforcement agents to be vigilant and do the needful, as they are also stakeholders that should contribute to the election’s success. He also assured the electorate that all the parties would be given a level playing ground.
The Chairman also reiterated that the election results for Local Government Councilors will be counted and declared at the polling units. At the same time, those of the Local Government Chairmen will be collated by the returning officers and announced at the office of the EDSIEC in Benin City.
He advised everyone to shun the idea of result writing, adding that having put in so much to build his integrity and serve the nation in different capacities, he would not dent his image and records already written in gold.
He, therefore, advised all candidates to continue to campaign and present themselves to be voted for, assuring all that the votes will count, promising to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
Speaking further, the Chairman advised the electorate to shun vote selling, rephrasing the expression “vote buying” as “vote trading” because, according to him, “The process involves two persons. The buyer and the seller are culprits by law and will be appropriately prosecuted when arrested. When you sell your votes, you have sold your future.
Politicians are not Father Christmas, so when politicians buy votes, they will recover their money from the monies meant for the development of their council areas. You should therefore be wise.”
Responding, some of the traditional rulers, security agents and the electorate stressed the importance of the timely arrival of election materials on the day of the election, assurance of declaration of the actual results, and the certainty of the election date, urging the EDSIEC Chairman to confirm that the election will hold on Saturday, September 2, 2023, and the Commission’s preparedness to conduct hitch-free polls.
The Chairman was accompanied on the sensitization visit by some Commissioners of the Commission, including Commissioner Gabriel Uduafi, Commissioner Felix Ebhota, Commissioner Anthony Okekuoyen, Commissioner Micheal Ekhaisomi, Commissioner Vincent Aimienota as well as other principal officers of the Commission.