The residents of Edo State are hopeful of a violence-free election as they go to the poll to elect a governor for another four-year term.
Following the chains of violence recorded in parts of the state during the electioneering campaign period, the electorates insist that the exercise scheduled for September 19 would be peaceful.
Channels Television crew interviewed some of the residents during a tour of Benin City, the state capital on Friday – the eve of the Election Day.
They said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as well as the security agencies have assured them of adequate security and a peaceful exercise.
“Everywhere is secured; people are only giving the impression that the election will not take place, but the government has made all preparations intact.
“So, I don’t know why people will not come out to vote,” a resident, Rufus Arubiye, told Channels Television.
Another resident, Mrs Victoria Momojumo, believes adequate preparations have been put in place by the relevant authorities.
“Tomorrow, I am going to vote and I will vote for the right person I want,” said Victoria whose opinion was supported by Stanley Nduka who believes there will be calm and the election will be peaceful.
“I believe everything will be fine; I am going to vote but I won’t sell my conscience. We want a leader, not a ruler,” another resident, Juliet Osas, stated.
Although the atmosphere in Edo is relatively peaceful, residents flooded the streets in some parts of the state in what can be described as last-minute shopping before they go to the poll.
During a visit to some of the major markets in Benin City, many residents were seen stocking foodstuff while others bought non-food items.
Shops and food markets were fully opened for commercial activities as early as 8:30 am at the Second Circular Road and Upper Mission Road areas of the state capital.
While some anticipated the election day as they were unable to contain their excitement, signs of fear and worry were evident on the faces of others.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed September 19 to conduct the election in all the 18 Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state.
At a press briefing in Abuja on February 6, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, noted that the tenure of the present administration in Edo would end on November 12, 2020.
According to him, the Electoral Act provides that the election cannot be conducted earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the tenure of an incumbent governor.
Five months later, the electoral umpire cleared the 12 candidates from various political parties to vie for the office of the governor.