By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
A Citizen-led movement committed to credible election under the Watching The Vote (WTV), better known as Yiaga Africa, has identified 12 out of the 18 Local Government Areas in Edo State as potential hotspots and flashpoints that should not be ignored during the Governorship election on Saturday.
This was contained in a Pre-election Press statement on Edo State Governorship election jointly endorsed by the Chairperson Yiaga Africa, Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote — 2020 Edo election Observation Mission, Dr. Aisha Abudullahi and the Executive Director of the Organisation, Samson Itodo, released on Thursday in Benin City.
But, the Non-Governmental Organisation listed the Local Government Areas as Etsako West, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Owan West, and Akoko-Edo in Edo North Senatorial district, while Oredo, Orhionmwon, Egor, Ovia North East, and Ikpoba-Okha, LGAs – in Edo South as well as Esan Central, Esan North East, Esan West LGAs in Edo Central Senatorial district of Edo State.
The statement, cited the frequency of violence, arms proliferation, and a spike in cult groups’ in those LGAs, ahead of the election which will be the first State-wide to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the shadow of Covid-19.
It said: “Two-Thirds of LGAs in the State were classified as hotspots and flashpoints of violence by Yiaga Africa due to the frequency of violence, arms proliferation, and a spike in cult groups’ activities in those LGAs”.
The group who tasked security agencies assigned on election duty to maintain the utmost level of neutrality, proper coordination among the various security agencies and professionalism in enforcing election day security, threatened to expose any form of manipulation ahead of the poll.
It also promised to track incidences of violence against against women during the election.
“They must respect the law and Citizen’s Constitutional and Civic rights and refrain from excessive force”.
Yiaga Africa, also urge INEC to among other things, to “ensure transparency and openness in the management of collation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws”.