IN preparation for the July 16 governorship election in the State of Osun, the British High Commission delegates, on Tuesday paid a visit to the State Governor, Adeboyega Oyetola.
Oyetola, who is seeking a second term will be contesting with 14 other candidates in the election.
Speaking during the visit, the leader of the delegation, Mr. Wale Adebayo, said they were in the state on pre-election visit as part of efforts to assess and measure the level of readiness and preparation of the political parties, their candidates, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agents among other concerned authorities.
Adebayo added that the commission will not support any candidate but rather observe how the election is being conducted and as well reach out to the candidates to know if there is any challenge.
He said: “We are the team from the British High Commission and we are here in Osun on pre-election visit to the state to see how prepared the state is for the election. We are here to meet with the stakeholders in the election especially with the key political parties who are contesting for the governorship election in the State.
“We have been to INEC to see how prepared they are for the election and we have also met members of the Civil Society Organizations and we will be meeting the Commissioner of Police to know the level of security measures they have put in place.
“We will meet with the candidates contesting for the election to assess the level of their preparation for the election. Basically, we are here to let you know that we are coming to observe the election as members of international community. It is our responsibility to observe the election process.
“We are not here to support any candidate but to observe how the election is being conducted and as well reach out to the candidates to know if there’s any challenge”.
In his remarks, Governor Oyetola described election as a contest that must be seen as a peaceful race by contestants, expressing displeasure over the inflammatory comments credited to the gubernatorial candidate of the main opposition party, saying such unguided tantrums could trigger violence and cause havoc on the peaceful atmosphere reigning in the State.
He enjoined the local and international electoral observers, particularly the British High Commission, to watch the opposition parties closely because of the unfolding events.
The Governor said: “I must commend and appreciate the British High Commission for its interest in deepening Nigeria’s democracy and for taking the struggle down here with the sole aim of ensuring peaceful, free, fair and credible election.
“Osun remains the most peaceful State in Nigeria and we are doing everything humanly possible to protect that enviable status.
“My only concern has to do with the attitude of the opposition parties particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in terms of preaching violence when they go out for campaign with words like ‘fire for fire’ and one of them recently said they will use bombs freely during the election, those statements as we all know can incite people and cause unnecessary violence”.