Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON, on Thursday received a team of International Election Observers who arrived the state capital to monitor the Saturday’s polls.
The team of joint mission International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) was led by Mr Rahul Srivastava, from the USA.
Other members are Marieme Soda Ndiaye, member of Senegalese Parliament (Senegal) and Jonathan Obatola, a field officer.
The team leader, who appreciated Governor Akeredolu for the warm reception given them, informed the Governor that the team was in the state to observe the Saturday’s polls.
The team also lauded Governor Akeredolu for his various giant strides across all sectors of the economy.
The Observers applauded the Governor for making the state the most peaceful State in the Niger-Delta region through the establishment of Amotekun Corps.
Welcoming the team, Governor Akeredolu said the people of the State are prepared for the election.
“I must say that in Ondo state we are prepared for this election. We have received news that over five thousand security agents; officers and men have been deployed across the state. I believe that should be enough.
“Because of a few misunderstanding of what Amotekun is, they have not involved them in the deployment. We still live in stone age where you believe that a security outfit by sub-nationals will probably serve the interest of the Governors. That is unfortunate.
“We questioned, so, the Nigeria police will serve the interest of the President? Aren’t they deployed to serve people’s interest? And Amotekun is here to serve people’s interest. But we have told Amotekun that there is no problem, stay away from the polling units but be on the streets and be on the look out for anybody who wants to intrude, you can arrest.
“So, we can say we have double security now. Polling stations are to be secured by usual Police, Civil Defence and other paramilitary agencies.
“So, we believe our people are already energized to work and vote in this election. Those who are going to work are already there and will be deployed by INEC.
“We are also aware that all sensitive materials have been released to INEC from Central Bank, and they are going to move.
“So, I must say that it is our strong belief that this election will be hitch free. It has always been free anyway. We have never recorded violence here except in our stone age, if I can use that word. When we had incidence where houses were burnt for one reason or the other, not even on election day.
“We have never recorded violence on election day, but where people vote and you decided to change the results of the elections, in this state you can’t try it. If you try it people will revolt, they will react. We are educated enough and we are people of courage, that’s how we are brought up in this state.
“It is our tradition to be courageous, so we don’t fear. But like I said, the election will be hitch free and we are hopeful that at the end of the day everybody in the country will accept who wins the election.
“It should never be a do-or-die affair. Yes, we have our candidate, I belong to a political party but that notwithstanding , I don’t see why we should not accept whoever wins the election as long as the election remains free and fair.
“The only way we should not accept results of election is when we compare notes and see that look, what we have from the field is not right, and we want to challenge at the Tribunal and probably proceed until we get to the Supreme Court.”the Governor stressed.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ondo State.
February 24, 2023.
📸 Olawale Abolade