Ekiti People Needed Change – Professor Olaofe
This was the view expressed by an election observer and Ekiti State indigene, Professor Ogundipe Olaofe, during an interview on Politics Today on Channels Television.
He said that the people decided to go out en masse because there were several issues which they were not happy with and they would not let the opportunity to change those things slip away from them.
Professor Olaofe provided an insight into the expectations of the average Ekiti person from the leadership of the state and stated that having not been satisfied with the performance of the current administration they felt that it was time to try another person.
An external Observer, Abiodun Ajilola, who was also on the programme, revealed that the turn out witnessed on the election day was unprecedented in the state and indeed in Nigeria with about 75% turnout of registered voters which only came down 49.1% eventually voting because some of the electorates did not have their Permanent Voters Card as required by the electoral body.
The issue of voter education also came to the fore with a total of 10,087 rejected votes amounting to only about 2.8% of all votes cast the Ekiti State, an indication, according to Ajilola, that civil society groups and political parties had shown more commitment to helping the people master the act of thumb printing and general voting activities.
Professor Olaofe also scored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), high on its handling of the Ekiti election, citing the smooth logistics, transparency, reorientation of voters at the polling units, and many other factors as contributing immensely to the success of the election.
The Afe Babalola University Professor generously scored INEC 90%, while Ajilola scored it 75% and added that this was a “complete improvement” from the Anambra State election, as there were no reports of delayed arrival of officials or electoral materials, disenfranchising of voters and any of the cases that marred the Anambra exercise.
Prof Olaofe also gave credits to the level of security provided during the election.
Although it was acknowledged that militarization of elections was not as a desirable idea during elections, both guests admitted that it became necessary in Ekiti, owing to the level of violence that preceded the election. They, however, expressed hope that Nigerians would continue to mature in their approach to politics and the brandishing of weapons during elections would start to reduce.
This was the same sentiment shared by the Labour Party candidate, Opeyemi Bamidele, who placed third in the election. While also accepting the result of the election and congratulating the winner, he expressed hope that weapons would feature less during elections in Nigeria as the electorates and politicians learn to imbibe positive attitudes, placing the interest of the country ahead of personal their interests.