Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Yiaga Africa, has identified 13 local governments where violence is likely to occur.
From Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
The Executive Director, Samson Itodo, speaking on Thursday at the unveiling of Yiaga Africa First Pre-Election Observation (PREO) Report, urged security agencies to employ preventive measures to neutralise existing security threats, to enable the electorate exercise their constitutional right to vote in a peaceful and secure environment.
He advocated improved inter-agency collaboration and cooperation to forestall rivalry and unhealthy competition in the management of election security.
Itodo said: “The spate of pre-election violence is escalating: The two dominant parties in the governorship race, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are guilty of violent rhetoric, hate speech, vandalism and violence.
“At a PDP rally in Apana, Etsako West Local Government, clashes between PDP and APC supporters led to attacks and vandalism.
“Based on our observation reports, 13 of the 18 councils are considered as potential hot spots of violence. They include Etsako West, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Owan West and Akoko-Edo in Edo North Senatorial District.
“In Edo South Senatorial District, our reports suggest Oredo, Orhionmwon, Egor, Ovia North East and Ikpoba-Okha. While in Edo Central Senatorial District, Esan Central, Esan North East and Esan West are potential hot spots.
“Given the threat to safety and security in the Edo election, Yiaga Africa urges the federal and state governments to desist from partisan use of the police and security forces to manipulate the electoral process.”
He urged parties and candidates to conduct issue-based campaigns rather than engage in voter inducement and recruitment of thugs and cultists for violence ahead of the election.