By Stephen Ubanna
Worried by the criticisms that trailed the Saturday February 23, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly election , over allegations of snatching of ballot boxes and burning of ballot papers trailing the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, President Muhammadu Buhari, met behind closed door with the service Chiefs and Head of other security agencies on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
The essence of the meeting , according to security sources was how to ensure maximum security during the forthcoing governorship and state Assembly election to avoid a repeat of what happened during the Presidential and National Assembly election. It was learnt Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, was said to have told the meeting of the security Chiefs with the President that his men are fully prepared to provide the needed security for the election.
But Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff may have sent a signal to Adamu, the acting IGP, that the police may have to do more. Buratai was said to have uncovered plot by some politicians to set off bombs to dirupt the forthcoming election. in some parts of the country. Going by security reports, the Army Chief said the plots include using Herdsmen and party thugs to disrupt the elections.
According to him, the plots also include ”infiltrating the ranks of political opponents and engagement of political mercenaries to carry out acts of assassinations . This is in addition to the use of social media for smear image Campaigns. Political watchers believe that that he may be alluding to the All Progressive Congress, APC, which are determined to take over control of the six states in the north Central geo-political region. The party, the source said are desperate to produce the governors of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states.
Going by the Presidential mandate given to them to oversee the election, Buratai was said to have told his Colleagues in other security agencies to ensure that the plots were frustrated” We must not allow them to succeed. We shall not allow those who determined to undermine our electoral process to succeed”, he had advised.
The acting IGP may have taken the alarm raised by the Chief of Army over plots by some politicians to disrupt the March 9, 2019 , election, serious that10 Hiace buses with full occupants of mercenaries and thugs heading to Akwa Ibom to disrupt the governorship and state Assembly election were said to have been arrested on the road by security operatives on a tipoff. They were forced to lie on the ground with their faces down while making confessional statement.They were said to have volunteered information that five (5) of the buses had already beaten security on the road to continue their journey to Akwa Ibom state. They were said to have also disclosed that they were working for Chieftains of APC both at the national and the oil rich state.
Accusing fingers are being pointed at Adams Oshomole a former governor of Edo state and now national chairman of APC and Godwill Akpabio a former governor of the state. Akabio according sources wants to make political Statement that he was still a force to be reckoned in his state. Those who spoke to the Value News disclosed that during the period of the electioneering Campaigns he had declared that the general elections in the a state would be a ”war-war”.
Oshomole and Akpabio may have given people to believe that the government was behind their actions as the suspects were allegedly ordered to be released by higher a authority.
Recall, Buba Galadima, a political ally of Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the PDP in the last election had raised alarm that the ballot papers for the governorship electio in Zamfra state have been thumb printed in Abdullaziz Yari, the state governor’s office . Galadima, who was recently arrested by masked security operatives had raised the alarm to draw the attention of the attention of Adamu, acting IGP, of plots by the APC, to rig the forthcoming governorship and state Assembly elections in the state. That was how far he could go.
The arrest of the mercenaries and the alarm raised by Galadima and others coupled with the Presidential directive to the Heads of the various security agencies may have informed the reason why Adamu, the acting IGP, to have approved the immediate deployment of seven Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIGP, and 10 Assistant Generals of Police, AIGP, for the governorship and state Assembly election.
The six DIGPs have the IGP’s mandate to oversee the election in the six geo-political Zones while the Commissioners of Police, CPs , deployed to the states were to compliment the efforts of the substantive CPs in the 36 state Commands and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
The IGP, was said to have made Abdulmajid Ali, the DIGP, , Operations, as the Coordinator of the deployment while the other DIGs would be in-charge of the Zones. Investigation by The Value News shows that many of the security operatives who are armed to the teeth have been deployed to the flash point states of Rives, Bayelsa and Rivers states.
Residents of these states are not comfortable with the large concentration of security operatives in their states because of what happened during the presidential and National Assembly election where the soldiers deployed to oversee the election were said to have been compromised by the politicians as they turned their eyes the other way like their police counterparts while ballot boxes were snatches and Ballot papers burnt. There are fears that the situation may be worse in the governorship and State Assembly election as the Candidates of the two major political parties, APC and PDP, are determined to do anything within their power to win the election.
The Internal Community may watching to see what would happen in Nigeria , forcing the Katsina state born Nigerian President to plead with Nigerians to make the governorship and state Assembly polls ”much better than the Presidential and National Assembly election which local and international observers have adjudged to be free and fair”.