COMMISSIONER for finance in Kwara State, Alhaji Demola Banu, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free, fair and credible election in the November 17 by-election in the Irepodun/Isin/Ekiti/Oke-Ero federal constituency of the State.
The by-election is to fill the vacant seat vacated by Princess Olufunke Adedoyin, who died recently.
Speaking with journalists after an interactive meeting with party members in Ajase-Ipo on Sunday, the commissioner said that recent elections conducted by the electoral body in some parts of the country had caused worry among some Nigerians.
Alhaji Banu, who urged INEC to use the by-election to assert its credibility status, said that the President should not encourage election manipulations or intimidation of opposition, himself being a product and a direct beneficiary of a free and fair election.
“There is nothing like federal power, the world is now a global village. I want to believe that the president will not be a party to such an oddity.
“With the experience, we had in Osun state, I do not think the president will want to allow that to happen again because it was an embarrassment for the Federal Government.
“Again, you can only rig where you are popular when it is obvious that you are losing there is nothing you can do about it. I believe that by the time they see the results, I do not think they will want to do what will cause a problem in the state and the country.
“Whether we have confidence in INEC or not, we do not have a choice than to have confidence in them (INEC) but judging from the last two elections they conducted in some parts of the country, there are growing concerns but I want to believe that they have learnt lessons from the two elections.
“We are hoping that things will be done differently this time around. I want to urge INEC to do the needful by conducting an election that will restore people’s confidence in the electoral body.
“If there is no credible election, it will create room for anarchy. The president benefited from a free and fair election. I do not see any reason why he would not want to improve on what he benefited from, he is morally bound to do so.
“Expectations are high; our people are looking forward to a free and fair election. We advise INEC to work out the right plans to ensure the process is not only transparent but violence-free,” he said.
Banu who said the PDP is fully prepared for the election punctured the idea of considering it as a test case stating rather that the party is on the ground in the state and merely carrying out and sustaining its political activities.
“Some people said the by-election is going to be a test case for the PDP and the APC in 2019. I do not want to believe that, well, maybe for the APC though, it will show their level because it is just like a brilliant student who knows what he is doing and he is fully prepared, he will not consider an examination as a test case.
“We believe that it is just a requirement that must be met to fill the vacuum created courtesy of the demise of our late sister, Princess Funke Adedoyin.
“Clearly, it is just going to be a walkover. I want to implore the Federal Government to allow a free and fair election. If you see what happened today you will realize that the PDP is on the ground.
” Do you even see APC campaigning inspite of the fact that the election is a week away and they have neither done rally nor campaigned because they know they are not on the ground.
“Well, as we said, maybe they have other means of winning. We were here last Saturday, you saw the crowd. Same thing this weekend. We have been coming here consistently and you have seen the crowd, they are not rented, people. They are people from our community,” he stated.
The Commissioner also donated two generating sets each to adherents of the nation’s two main religions; Islam and Christianity in each of the 11 Wards in Irepodun local government.
“The idea of holding a regular interactive meeting is according to him, intended to provide the needed platform to strengthen cord with the grassroots.
“We try to listen to our people, what they want and there is always a feedback mechanism through which we try to know their aspirations, what they want and find a way of meeting their yearnings.
“We have been meeting with our people and it has always been an interactive meeting where we educate them, we do not just assume that they know what to do. We talk to them every week and we have been doing this even before the election period.
“We tell them our programmes and keep them abreast of developments in the environment and the country. They are happy that we consider them as important, we make them have a sense of belonging.
Talking to our people means a lot. Once again, I want to thank them for being very supportive and also for their prayers and support for the state government and I urge them to continue to support the state government and that they should expect more and better dividend.
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