Tension remained very high for most of yesterday through out Osun State as the two leading candidates in today’s gubernatorial election, incumbent governor Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress and Iyiola Omisore of the Peoples Democratic Party made discreet last minutes moves to woo voters.
Security was tight across the state as tough-looking soldiers, policemen and Department of State Security personnel were seen patrolling major streets.
About 73,000 security operatives including 15,000 soldiers, 30,000 policemen, 8,000 DSS operatives and 20,000 civil defence “personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order during election.
Source said men of the anti-terrorism squad are part of those drafted to the state and “are already searching for dangerous weapons including improvised explosive devices.
Today’s election is expected to be a straight fight between Aregbesola and Omisore. While Aregbesola will be banking on the incumbency factor and his record of achievements in the last three and half years, Omisore will benefit largely from being the candidate of the ruling party at the national level and the “federal might” that comes with it.
However, Omisore’s tainted past, particularly his alleged role in the death of Chief Bola Ige “may work against him.
Meanwhile, the Osun State Police Command has announced a 24-hours curfew in the state.
The state’s supervising commissioner of police, Mr. Augustine Evbakhabokun said this was done to guide against intruders, thugs and other electoral violators who might want to hijack the election for their own interest.
While addressing the press in Osogbo yesterday, Evbakhabokun directed that no politicians, no matter his or her position must be seen with police orderly during the election.”
Evbakhabokun added that nobody would be allowed to carry fireman to the polling poll, stressing that violator of the electoral law will not be speared.
He urged politicians to play the game according to the rules and regulation guiding the electoral law.
He warned “all trouble makers” to relocate from the state in their own interest, saying those caught violating the law will face the music.
The Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sulaiman Abba had earlier warned that trouble -makers caught during the election would face the wrath of the law.
Abba assured that adequate security would be provided for electorates, electoral officers and stakeholders before, during and after the poll adding that the Police was prepared to check any break- down of law and order.
The Police boss equally noted that nobody would be allowed to intimidate voters and warned political thugs and their sponsors to beware as the police are fully ready to protect lives and properties of the citizens.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega yesterday re-affirmed that the commission would ensure that the election in Osun is transparent, fair, free, credible and acceptable nationwide.
Jega said: “The commission remains focused and firm in conducting a credible poll in Osun State that will show the entire world that Nigeria can handle her internal democracy for others to copy.”
He urged all the candidates to refrain from lawlessness and promised that security men would not molest, harass or intimidate eligible voters during the election.
Also yesterday, INEC released an information kit on today’s election ‘which shows a total of 1,407, 222 valid number of voters (post-March 2014 Continuous Voter Registration (CVR)).
The Osun State REC disclosed that 10,432 Ad hoc staff had been recruited for the election.
Agbaje said that three security agents would man a polling unit, while the whole local government councils would be secured through coordinated motorized patrols to forestall any breakdown of law and order by unscrupulous elements.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun yesterday alleged that the party had uncovered what he termed “PDP’s manual plan to rig governorship election in Osun State.”
Oyegun, at a press conference in Osogbo yesterday alleged that the manual had been completed with projected fake results in all the 30 local government areas of the state.
He said that the rigging plans were contained in two documents prepared by the PDP in Osun, “which are now in the possession of the APC.”