The Igbimo Ure Ekiti, a body of eminent elders of Ekiti State, have cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari not to approve deployment of the military for July 14 governorship election in the State.
They also condemned the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, for alleged desperation to win the poll.
In a statement read at a media briefing and signed by its National President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, and General Secretary, Sir Remi Omotoso, the IUE said election was not war and should not be treated as such.
The elders said, “With the palpable fear of the people within the state that the army may be used for this election, we call on Mr President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammed Buhari, to ensure that men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces are not involved in an electoral process that is totally, essentially and constitutionally a civil matter.
“Election is not a war. The earlier we began to instill confidence in the ability and the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force together with other civil security agencies for the prevention and detection of crime, apprehension of offenders, protection of lives and properties, preservation of law and order and due enforcement of our laws and regulation including our electoral laws, regulations and guidelines, the better for our democracy.”
Recalling that the governorship election and the re-run that followed between 2007 and 2010 were characterised by killing, destruction of valuable assets and trepidation among Ekiti State residents, the Ekiti elders appealed to the political gladiators “not to allow history to repeat itself.
“No one will forget in a hurry, the Ido Osi tragedy, the Oye skirmishes, and the inconsistencies of Madam Ayoka Adebayo, the then Ekiti State Electoral Commissioner.
“As a people, we must learn from history. The failure to learn from history is the reason for repeating same mistakes. We wish to recall with pain and anguish the electoral crisis of 1983 in the old Ondo State (comprising of the present Ondo State and Ekiti State) which occasioned loss of several lives and destruction of properties”.
Among others at the press conference were Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, a historian, Prof. Banji Akintoye and a former Managing Director, UAC, Dr. Ayo Ajayi.