The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) said on Friday the presence of some of governors in Ondo State for the state’s governorship election may scuttle the exercise.
TMG is a coalition of over 400 civil society groups in the country and the group is already in the South-West state for Saturday’s governorship election that had pitched the incumbent Rotimi Akeredolu against more than 10 candidates including Eyitayo Jegede of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, who is flying the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) flag in the poll.
The Chairman of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, who disclosed this at a pre-election media briefing in Akure, said the governors’ “invasion of Ondo State” posed a serious threat to the peaceful and credible conduct of the election.
Akiyode-Afolabi, however, declined to mention the governors’ names.
According to her, the governors could use their immunity to get involved in vote-buying, intimidation, and other election misconducts.
The TMG chief also said the three leading political parties had been promoting violence and inducing voters ahead of the poll.
She urged the security agencies to clamp down on individuals who had violated the electoral law.
Akiyode-Afolabi said: “TMG condemns the practice of governors from other states that have invaded Ondo State and refused to leave after the campaign has ended.
“These governors who travelled and sponsored their political expedition with the meagre resources of their states may constitute a threat to free and fair election by taking advantage of their immunity to be involved in election malpractices like vote-buying, intimidation of security operatives and sponsorship of political violence.
“All invading governors should leave since the campaign has ended.
“Since the beginning of electioneering, the three major political parties – APC, PDP, and ZLP have been involved in promoting political banditry, violence and reprisal, allegations and counter-allegations, vote-buying and voters’ inducement at different levels and in varied forms. This action is illegal as it flouts electoral law.
“This has raised political tension in the state until a few days to the election when more security personnel were deployed in the state. TMG condemns this desperation for power by political parties as it undermines the fundamental tenet of democracy which is free choice.”
“TMG appeals to political parties and candidates to translate their agreement to observe peace by consenting to sign peace accord into practice through maintenance of order and observe all the rules governing elections during and after the poll.”