It would appear that despite several calls for caution by several stakeholders within and outside Nigeria, Edo State is enmeshed in threats of violence by political actors ahead of its September 19 governorship election. With less than four weeks to the elections, the two major parties in the State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) continue to trade accusations on the influx of arms into the State and the mobilisation of thugs for the election. Security operatives were also reported to have recently arrived in several parts of Edo State in their numbers. While some political actors worry about the possibility of intimidation of voters, others insist that the heavy presence of policemen is in the best interest of the public.
Meanwhile in Ondo State where Local Government elections held recently were reported to have been characterised by voter apathy and pockets of violence, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Isaac Kekemeke was recorded threatening one of the governorship candidates in the State. Kekemeke in a video that was circulated on social media platforms berated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede for his outcry over the destruction of his campaign materials, describing it as ‘child’s play’ and implying that it could be worse when ‘Federal might’ gets involved.
The situation in both States is worrying and raises concern over the safety of the electorate, ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), election observers and other stakeholders who will be participating in the electoral process.