Ballot counting has started in some parts of Ekiti State after the governorship election voting exercise that witnessed large turnout of voters.
Voters waited patiently after casting their votes in the Saturday election to get the results from their polling booths. They echoed results as ad-hoc officials of the electoral body counted the ballots in Ado Ekit, the capital of the state.
Channels Television’s correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, reports that it has been a peaceful process with heavy security presence in the state.
“Voters have conducted themselves in a peaceful manner right from when accreditation started in the morning. Security operatives hoover around the area in helicopter to ensure that there is law and order,” he said.
The security operatives, however, arrested some young men in Ado Ekiti and had taken them away. They did not disclose the crime committed by the men.
Accreditation started some minutes after eight and it lasted till about 12:30pm. Voting started immediately with voters presenting their permanent voter’s card.
Although about 18 political parties have presented candidates for the election, candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Peoples Democratic Party, Ayo Fayose and Labour Party, Opeyemi Bamidele are the top 3 contenders for the position.
The electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, supervised the distribution of election materials to different polling units in all 16 Local Government Areas on Friday .
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, on Friday, told Channels Television that INEC had put everything in place to ensure a peaceful, credible and successful election in the State. He further stressed that only voters with the permanent voter’s card would be allowed to vote in the election that has drawn international interest.
Eight thousand policemen and 15,000 personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, are presently in Ekiti to ensure a peaceful conduct of the exercise.
Spokesman for the police, Mr Frank Mba, had told citizens to expect restriction of movement, as it is a strategy to ensure adequate security of lives and property during and after the governorship election.
The Ekiti governorship election is the first big elections before the 2015 general elections which the PDP as well as the opposition, APC, have sworn to emerge victorious.
However, both local and international observers would be on ground to monitor the process.
Thirty election observers from the United States Mission to Nigeria have arrived the State to monitor the election process. In a statement released by the public affairs office on Friday, the US described the election as a very important one in the lives of Ekiti residents.