Tony Osauzo, Benin
Any security personnel in uniform without an ID tag and policemen found accompanying politicians on the day of the Edo State governorship will be arrested, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, warned on Monday, five days to the closely watched election.
The police chief gave the warning while addressing participants at Edo State Governorship Election Stakeholders’ meeting in Benin City.
The Inspector-General, who announced that 31,000 policemen would be deployed for the state election, said the deployment is also to sound a warning to those who plan to disrupt the election that they would be dealt with according to the law.
He said police personnel deployed for the election are aware that they would be held accountable for any misconduct, even as he assured that security agencies would remain neutral and ensure a free, fair and credible election.
Mr Adamu, who reeled out a list of what would not be permitted on election day, including wearing of any emblem or colour of any political party to the polling areas, said anyone in possession of firearms would be apprehended and charged to court.
He advised parents and guardians to advise their children and wards against being recruited as thugs by politicians for the election.
He also urged security personnel to be firm and decisive in responding to any electoral breach.
During a question and answer session, the Inspector-General, stated that stealing of ballots, moving around with security on election day and vote-buying, are done by politicians, pointing out that if politicians do the right thing, those issues would not arise.
‘If you break the electoral laws, you are going to be held responsible and there would be consequences no matter those involved,’ the IG said.
Urging voters to play their part to ensure that the right person is elected into office as governor, Mr Adamu announced that the entry points into Edo State would be blocked by military personnel, appealing to the people to play their part to ensure the success of the election.
On his part, INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu spoke in the same vein and said delivering a free and fair election was everyone’s responsibility. He enjoined politicians to support the electoral process.
He said in the Edo election, the Commission has introduced new features in the result sheets to make the election results full proof.
‘The people of Edo, be rest assured that the election on Saturday will be credible,’ the INEC Chairman said.
The representative of the Oba of Benin, Chief Henry Osato Bazuaye, saying that the palace is apolitical, urged the police, INEC to ensure free, fair and credible election, just as he called on the political parties to ensure peace during the election.
‘They should ensure that the election is one of the best. It’s going to be a free, fair and successful election,’ he said.
On his part, the Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, represented by Omolade Ayodele, Coordinator, Edo/Delta, while assuring Corps members deployed for the election would ensure high standard demanded of them, urged politicians to ensure their safety.