The Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has expressed worries over the “high likelihood of violence” during the September 19 and October 10 gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states, respectively.
According to the IGP, the alert followed a painstaking review of security threat assessment reports submitted to him by the Commissioners of Police (CPs) in charge of the aforementioned states. The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, who conveyed the police chief’s position in a statement yesterday, identified such threats as arming of political thugs, cross attack by political opponents, among others.
Consequently, Adamu has directed the respective CPs to immediately reorganise their operational readiness for the polls, which have two incumbent governors – Mr. Godwin Obaseki (Edo), as well as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) – seeking second terms in office.
This was as he warned politicians and their supporters against breaching electoral codes, vowing to bring the full weight of the law to bear on perpetrators of violence before, during and after the polls.
He said: “The IGP has warned politicians and their supporters in Edo and Ondo states, where gubernatorial elections are scheduled to hold on 19th September, 2020 and 10th October, 2020 respectively, to conduct themselves properly, play by the rules and steer-clear of tendencies capable of undermining the electoral process in the two states.
“The IGP gave the warning having reviewed the Election Security Threat Assessment Reports submitted by the Commissioners of Police from both states in a meeting held Tuesday, 25th August, 2020. “The Election Security Threat Analysis reveals amongst other indicators: arming and movement of political thugs, use of in
citing statements during political campaigns, high likelihood of violence and possible cross attack by political opponents, misinformation/ disinformation aimed at heating-up of the polity and deliberate efforts at delegitimizing government institutions involved in the electoral processes.
“The IGP has, therefore, ordered the Commissioners of Police in the two states – Edo and Ondo – to rejig their preparations for the elections to accommodate and address the threats and emerging trends as contained in the security report.
He noted that the Force leadership is evolving customized security architecture to protect the people and ensure hitchfree elections.
“The IGP, however, warns politicians and their supporters in Edo and Ondo that the Force will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on anyone or group, irrespective of status that may want to sabotage the security arrangement being emplaced for the elections.”
Meanwhile, the IGP has assured the public, particularly the people of Edo and Ondo states, that the Force remained committed to protecting the sanctity of the ballot in the country.
He further reiterated that the Police will be neutral, apolitical, and above all, work assiduously with all stakeholders at ensuring a level playing ground for all parties in the elections.
Reactions on EDO Reacting to the development, the APC stated that the police’s warning confirmed its “previous petitions and warnings on the criminal arms build-up by the PDP.”
Chairman, Edo APC Media Campaign Council, Mr. John Mayaki, in a statement said: “The Election Security Threat Analysis report is an affirmation of all our previous petitions, alarms, and warnings that Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his party, the PDP, are planning to mar the September 19 governorship election with large-scale violence to scare away voters because they are afraid of the people’s verdict after a four-year term of nonperformance.”
On his part, the Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, urged the police to deal decisively with whomever that is involved in issues relating to thuggery and violence ahead of the poll. Nehikhare, however, exonerated the PDP of any involvement in thuggery and all forms of violence. He blamed the recent thuggery and violence in the state on APC.