By Muftau Ogunyemi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has appealed to all religious leaders in Ondo State to ensure peaceful conduct and support the commission in the forthcoming Oct. 10 governorship election in the State.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Rufus Akeju, made the appeal during an interactive with religious leaders in the state on Wednesday in Akure.
Akeju said that it was imperative for the leaders to sensitise and educate their congregation to the need to avoid violence.
He explained that INEC would continously conduct a violence-free, fair, credible, conclusive, peaceful and acceptable election.
He pointed out that thuggery was not a job but a death warrant saying, “that is why we need our religious leaders’ support in order to talk to their people, especially the youth, to shun violence at all times.”
“We are counting on your support, our religious leaders. You have done it before and we want you to improve on it.
“INEC has made preparation for peaceful election and nobody will be allowed to vote without permanent voter card and face mask.
“We are appealing to those who are eligible to vote to come out en masse and vote for the candidate of their choice. INEC has secured safe environment to cast your vote,” he said.
The REC said that distribution of non sensitive materials to all the 18 local government areas of the state had been done.
He warned those who might want to engage in vote buying to desist or face the wrath of the law, if caught.
“This is your responsibility to decide the next governor of the state, and please don’t collect money in exchange for vote.
“If you sell your vote or if you buy votes, you will be caught and dealt with,” he said.
Reacting, Rev. Ayo Oladapo, the state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), appreciated INEC for its readiness to conduct credible election.
Oladapo promised that CAN would continue to pray and support the commission for peaceful poll.
He added that the Christian body had been sensitising its members and would continue to preach peace to them.
Similarly, Alhaji Akinpelumi Abibullahi, the state Chairman of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA), stated that the organisation was in support of INEC to allow peace to reign before, during and after the election since the state belonged to all of them.(NAN)