The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has said the highest number of support personnel and equipment being deployed from the Force Headquarters to Ekiti state for the governorship election is to avoid a repeat of 1983 Omoboriowo violence in the state.
In 1983, the old Ondo State was thrown into crises, where many people were killed and properties destroyed as a result of election violence.
The security equipment included more than 50 vehicles among which were trucks, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), ambulance, patrol vans, one bomb detector robot and three helicopters, and a large number of personnel.
Addressing journalists shortly before the massive deployment yesterday, Abubakar said it was to prevent violence and ensure free and fair election in the state on Saturday
He said: “Knowing what the state used to be during elections, we have gone a step further to do all the things we are supposed to do in terms of materials and human resources. Do not ask the number of personnel I am going to use, in security business, we want to keep that to our chest so that we can do our best.
I tell you it is one of the highest numbers we can ever expect to deploy more than any other state that we have been because we must look at history.”
The IG assured that the police and other security agencies would do everything possible to prevent recurrence of election violence as it was witnessed in the old Ondo State in 1983.
“Some of us who were opportune to be in Ondo State in 1983 during Omoboriowo election, we know what happened, and we are doing everything to ensure that it is prevented. We want this election (June 21 governorship election) to be free and fair, without violence,” he said.
According to the police boss, security agencies in the last three months had carried out surveillance and information gathering towards ensuring a free and fair election in the state.
He assured the people of the state that adequate security would be provided to enable them exercise their franchise and called on politicians to prevail on their supporters to maintain peace.
Addressing the personnel to be deployed, Abubakar charged them to abide by the code of conduct, and be fair and firm in the discharge of their duties.
“We have already made plans to ensure that you are paid your allowances in the state, and therefore, I do not expect you are to do anything stupid. Remember, you going to be watched not only by our own officers, but by other organisations including civil organisations and international monitors, who will be in the state.
“I expect you, as good ambassadors of the Nigeria police, to obey the code of conduct and at the same time, respect the rule of law and all other regulations guiding the election,” he said.
Meanwhile, with few days to the election, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said it has lost confidence in the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair and credible election in the state.
Besides, the party also accused the police of not being fair to it since the beginning of the current political dispensation.
Addressing a press conference in Ado Ekiti yesterday, a chieftain of the party and minister- designate, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, said the police and INEC had not been fair to the PDP in the preparation for the election.
According to him, “While the police have been protecting the APC thugs, the INEC too has not been carrying us along, “adding that” the body language of INEC has not shown that it can conduct credible election for the people of the state.” Adeyeye, also accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of planning to import party governors from other states to Ekiti State to influence the conduct of the election.
Besides, the party also alleged that it had it on good authority that the APC had imported thugs and militants from Lagos State and other South-west states as well as Rivers and Edo States to wreak havoc on the electorate during the election, calling the police to act fast and botch the plan.
He warned the APC governors against interfering in Ekiti election, saying doing so could provoke the people to taking spontaneous reaction that could cause crisis in the state.
Adeyeye, who was joined by other chieftains of the party, including former deputy governor of Ekiti State, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, also called on the police to act promptly and dislodge the militants he alleged are being kept in the Government House.
“We had that each of the 16 APC governors will be posted to the 16 local governments of Ekiti State, warning that APC governors must not be allowed to invade our state.
Refuting the allegation, the APC Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Segun Dipe, said the allegation actually represent what the PDP was planning.
Dipe likened the PDP’s allegation to what he termed “revised psychology.”
He said: “We know that Fayose cannot win election without using thugs. “We are aware that they have started bringing in thugs in trickles.
“They are trying to draw the attention of security agents away from their evils,” he said.
But, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Victor Babayemi said at a public enlightenment programme in Ado-Ekiti that there won’t be room for fake police or soldier to perpetrate evil during the election.
Babayemi said only the constitutionally recognized security outfits in the country would be allowed to mount the roads as well as polling areas.
He said, any individual or group who accept to work either as fake policemen or solders for politicians in the poll will regret his or her action.
Babayemi also warned politicians as well as public office holders, especially the party candidates to be wary of a section of the Electoral Law which forbid them from moving about with security agents or other personal aides attached to them on the polling day, saying doing so would trigger criminal case against them.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC in the state, Mr. Ayoleke Adu, has cautioned the police and other security agencies against being partisan in the June 21 governorship election.
He also advised INEC to ensure that the election is conclusive and that results are announced promptly in a transparent manner, immediately after the polls.
Adu, who during an empowerment programme and campaign rally the held in Omuo-Ekiti, Ekiti East Local Government, said all eyes are on the security agencies and INEC to provide a level playing field for all the parties and allow people’s vote to count.
He expressed optimism that Governor Kayode Fayemi will win convincingly because of his track records and the determination of Ekiti people to vote for performance and continuity.
According to him, “The only thing we are asking for is that the Police and other security agencies in the state should be impartial and allow free, fair and credible election to hold on Saturday.”