Benin (WorldStage Newsonline)– Ahead of the governorship election in Edo state on Saturday, about a dozen truck load of heavily armed and stern looking army personnel patrolled the major roads in Benin City on Friday, in demonstration of their readiness to ensure a peaceful, free, fair and credible exercise.
All seem to be set for voters in the 192 wards and 18 local government areas of the three senatorial districts of Edo state in the epic battle among members of the seven participating political parties for the Saturday governorship election in the state.
The army personnel are to be stationed at strategic locations in the South, North and Central senatorial zones where they are ensure guaranteed security of lives and properties of residents of the areas and to avert any trouble that may erupt during before, during and after the election.
It is expected that heavy presence of security will be felt in the three major towns of Benin City, Auchi and Ekpoma in the three districts of the state where the election is believed to be fierce.
More of the army troops and mobile policemen have been deployed to man all the entry points to water ways in riverine communities of Ovia North East and Ovia South-West to dislodge any breach any breakdown of law and order by suspected militants and movement of arms by suspected thugs of political parties.
The major parties, the PDP, ACN and ANPP are to lock their hard horns in Edo central the political base of Chief Tony Anenih due to its strategic importance and capital town of Benin in the south because of the numerical and political strengths.
Already all eyes are on the incumbent governor Adams Oshiomhole of the ACN, Major General Charles Airhiavbere of the PDP and Chief Solomon Edebiri of the ANPP who are considered as major contenders to the exalted number one seat of the state.
Interestingly the leaderships of the various political parties in the race have engaged themselves in last minute crucial meetings to perfect what could was seen as water tight strategies to make the process a worthwhile venture in each camp’s favour.
The core actors in the battle for Osadebe Avenue government house have started relocation to their various wards, councils and senatorial districts with the aim of mobilizing their members and voters for the polls for the next governor of the state.
At the state government house there were skeletal official activities as movement heightened among aides of Governor Adams Oshiomhole while some offices were under lock and key.
The secretariat complexes of the Action Congress of Nigeria, People Democratic Party, All Nigeria Peoples Party, Labour Party, National Conscience Party and Congress for Progressive Change were yesterday deserted following the intensified moves by the leaders and members to perfect their game plans towards the success of the polls.
At the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Aduwawa road long the Benin-Auchi road near Ramat Party Ikpoba Hill hordes of party agents, a combined team of soldiers and armed anti riot mobile policemen have taken over the entrance gate and building of the area.
More so, there are hundreds of international and local monitors who are to move round parts of the state to observe the processes of the election even as the observers and journalists were seen at INEC office jostling for accreditation.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) of INEC, Kassim Gaidam , in an interview disclosed that the commission was determine to conduct a violent free governorship election with the effective collaboration of all the relevant agencies that are to participate in the exercise.
Gaidam said “we are right now trying to distribute the sensitive material in the present of all the party agents and at the end of the day we are moving to the local government areas for further distribution.”
He stated that “We are positive that election will be free, fair and we expect Nigerians to be positive too.”
In addition all the known hotels and tourists centers have been booked to the brim by journalists from Lagos, Asaba and Abuja as well as other nearby states who are in the state to monitor the polls.
We enjoin our readers to send their stories/articles/reports, including pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org