Ayoka: I Worked At Gunpoint In Ekiti State

Source: OUR REPORTER - thewillnigeria.com

LAGOS, Sept 27, (THEWILL) - Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ondo State, Mrs. Ayoka Adebayo today said political parties should be blamed for the electoral debacle that has allowed Ekiti State’s gubernatorial election remain the only one still being contested in Court, while also confessing that she worked in Ekiti State at gunpoint.

Ayoka spoke today at a consultative forum organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for state leaders of political parties in Oyo, Ogun, Lagos, and Ondo State at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, to sensitise electoral residents and political leaders ahead the 2011 General Elections.

The forum was organized by International Republican Institute, a non-profit, nonpartisan organisation that works to advance freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance and the rule of law.

The embattled electoral commissioner urged the political parties to be fair and free and pledged that she would be fair and free in her present assignment. "Ayoka Adebayo will be free and fair to all the political parties."

While responding to agitations by Ondo indigenes for her to be redeployed at a consultative forum, Ayoka said: "I think politicians should do their role first by enlightening their members. I am not the one who invited thugs neither am I the one that gave them guns." Ayoka confessed that she worked as Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti at gunpoint.

The forum, according to Adedeji Soyebi, an INEC’s National Commissioner who represented the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, is to further engage political parties at zonal level.

Soyebi told the gathering that INEC has procured completed the procurement process for the voters’ registration equipment and has commenced the process of recruiting 360,000 adhoc officials for the exercise. He said INEC has also procured software that will be used for the exercise. According to him, the significance of the new software, which is being rigorously tested, is that it will tackle many of the lingering challenges that had questioned the credibility of our voters’ register.

He charged the participants to "fully take ownership of the electoral process" because INEC has only focused its energy on making the process a foolproof system. Soyebi explained that, "If you are to consider people that will work the system, we will not even have election because people are different and we are talking of party agents, who may run into millions, INEC staff and others. What INEC has done is to design a foolproof process.

"The reason the commission decided to engage Nigerians openly about the challenges confronting it was a commitment to ensuring the ownership of electoral process by ordinary people who through their contributions can make a difference between what has gone before and what we are trying to do now," he said.

Soyebi answered all the questions of the participants, who at the end of the meeting, generally believe that it is now the responsibility of the political parties to ensure the conduct of a credible election.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Lagos INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Adekunle Ogunmola said that the commission needed the cooperation and support of all stakeholders.

Ogunmola said that the entire world was focusing attention on Nigeria and it was their expectation that Nigeria would live up to the name ‘giant of Africa,’ by conducting free, fair and acceptable election.