Election: Edo, who Wears The Cap, Obaseki, PDP Or Ize Yamu, APC

BynStephen Ubanna

Adamu Mohammed, the Inspector General of Police, IGP appears  to have made  adequate security arrangement to ensure that the Saturday, September 19, 2020, governorship election in the south-south state of Edo was  conducted  in a peaceful atmosphere  devoid of troubles, by the Mahmood Yakubu, a professor, led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Given the heightened  tension and violence that had  charactised the electioneering Campaign of  Godwin Obaseki and Osagie Ize Iyamu, the governorship Candidates of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressive Congressive,  APC, which may have informed why Mohammed, the IGP, deployed 31,000 Policemen to the state, he has mandated them to enforce  the law to ensure Free, Fair and credible election in the south-south state.

    Being the first  governorship election  to be conducted by the Commission in the country  under the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of  China  emerged coronavirus, popular COVID   19,  that had resulted in the  lock down since  March 23, 2020,  the IGP, had informed the 31,000 Policemen to the state to enforce the restriction order during the election .The Police boss major concern, according to security sources is  to  ensure  a Free Fair and credible  election in the state.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu : Chairman, INEC

Indeed, signs that there was already an established tight security in the state became pronounce on Thursday, September 17, 2020  as the Policemen deployed to the state enforces the restriction order. as They hadinsiseted that anyone without any  business in  Edo have no reason of being there.  They fear that the intruders presence will cause crisis that may disrupt the election process in the state. Even  motorists were not left out from the Policemen  harassment as they created  heavy traffic along the roads leading toBenin the state Capital from the Agbor axisis and Oil city of Warri, axisis thus, forcing most of the motorists heading to Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center to  divert their movement to another route, terminatin at the Old Benin Tollgate, as a  way of escaping the police harassment in order to continue their Journey

   The message was very clear  to the politicians, party tugs and their sponsors in the state that   that it is no longer going to be business as usual as’’ they would not have the freedom to move freely  to disrupt  the election or  collation of results’’. The Law Enforcement Officers were said to have identified  the flash point areas of high security threat in the state  as they were said to have  restrategised  on the best approach to deal with such threats.

The appearance of Nyensom Wike, a PDP, governor of  the  oil-rich Rivers state, in Benin, the state Capital, in his capacity as the  party Chairman  of the  National Campaign Council, NCC,  of the Edo governorship election   may have encouraged the policemen, at the instance of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Coordination the operation and Johnson Kokumo, the state Commissioner of police, who may have acted on the instance of the IGP,   to be on the red alert  to forestall ,the Rivers governor, who is fared, from doing anything untoward  that might influence the electorate to tilt the result in favour of his party, the PDP.

Godwin Obaseki: Governor, Edo state

No fewer than 300    heavily arned Policemen,  were  said to have laid siege on  the  hotel  the  governor had lodged on Friday, Sept ember, 18, 2020. Appearing on Channels Television,  the governor, who looked upset  had said that there was basis for such harassment because he had ”done no wrong’’ .

He had stated that  he was in the state like the other APC, big wigs in the state,on behalf of the PDP  to monitor the election.  He had confirmed  that Mohammed, the IGP, had actually ordered  him ’’to leave the state stressing that  his presence    will cause crisis.

He could not understand why the IGP, could sngle him out to leave the sate when  Abdullahi   Ganduje, his Counterpart in Kano state and the Deputy Senate President, who were APC, Chieftains, were also in the state to monitor the election.  He fears that it was because he was from the Opposition PDP, that he had  been ordered to leave the state to create room for Ize Iyamu, the APC, Candidate to win the election.

This may informed why he was said to have refused to have the state for the police to do their worst.  The IGP, he said, had justified his action   to a Statement , considered inflammatory allegedly made by him.

 Throwing more light on the alleged inflammatory   Statement,Wike, the PDP  Chairman of the Edo, NCC,   disclosed that he had  advised theEdo electorate ”to be extra vigilant in order  to protect their votes’’.  The Rivers governor who could not hide his feelings  had described the IGP’s order  a ”’the highest  level of impunity’’.

Ize Iyamu, APC , Candidate In Edo State Governorship Election

  But Kokumo, the  state , police Commissioner   may have told  the aggrieved governor to stop comcrying aloud. According to him ”the police do not need to lay siege  on anyone” , noting that ”the situation in the state  is  that no matter  the status of the Citizen in the country, the police  will ensure  that it will do everything within its capacity   to create  a conducive  atmosphere  for a  free, fair and credible election in Edo state’’.   

President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, was said to have  warned the governorship Candidates of the PDP, APC and the other political parties jostling to rule the state through the electoral process  not to use unfair method or approach the election as  a do or die affair’’ to avoid throwing the state into unimmaginable crisis because of their desperate desire for  power.

Aware of the role played by Policemen on electoral duties  in the November 16, 2019, governorship election in the oil-rich Bayelsa state  and Kogi   , where some of the security agencies personnel in the two states were alleged to have become partisan, may have informed why the Leadership of the Police Service Commission, PSC, had assured the Edo voters that  the officials of Commission  were  on ground  to monitor the conduct of the police officers  deployed to  the state to oversee the  security situation  during the election.

Ikechukwu Ani, the Commission Spokesperson, who broke the cherry news  said the police must ’’ get it right  and  ensure  that the people of Edo  enjoys  a peaceful   voting exercise’’.   In a Statement issued   by him on  behalf of the Commission, he had made it clear that the police deployed to the Niger Delta  state has a great role ‘’to play to ensure  the success of the governorship election ‘’.

Recall that the IGP,  and Yakubu, the, INEC Cahairman,  as part of the efforts to ensure that the parties play the political game going by   the rule, had met  with the stakeholders to prepare their mind  ahead of the election and the need to approach it with an open mind.

. Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, may  have taken  advantage of the meeting   to  disclose  some of the most  recent  innovations that had been introduced  which was the use of  a tablet, Z-pad, to serve as secondary means  of achieving  full biometric  accreditation of voters using the facial image  of the voter, in support of the fingerprint authentication by the  Smart Card Reader  that would not be used.

But in spite the large  number of the Policemen on electoral duty in the state,  the Center for  Democracy and Development, CDD, a non- governmental  Organisation, had noted that there were cases of  violence  in five local government areas in the state.

Idayat Hassan, the CDD Director, who could not hide her feelings  confirmed that there were actually electoral malpractices, citing  vote buying which marred the governorship election, that had been described as peaceful by many  .

 Worried by the violence in some parts of the state, the PDP, had raised alarm  of plots  by Agents of the APC, to replace  election results   where the party is leading , particular, Edo North. The party leadership in the state were said to have petitioned Yakubu, the INEC boss and Yusuf Magaji BICHI, the Director General, Department of State Security, DSS, about the APC, plots.

Apealing to the Security agencies personnel, particular, the policemen , not to allow themselves to be used by the APC  to replace  results already being declared at the respective polling Units,  the party warned that it would not take it.  However, the party officials were said to have  urged members ”to remain vigilant  and follow their results bumper to bumper to all the collation centers” to void giving room to the APC,  Agents to tamper with the results.

The duo, Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, the PDP and APC, governorship Candidates, repectively, were said to have won in their respective  booths ,going by the already declared results.

Note that prior to the Edo state governorship election, on September 19, 2020,  Aminu Tambuwal, a former Speaker , House of Representatives and governor of Sokoto state, who incidentally is the Chairman, PDP,  Governors Forum,   had urged  all those that are involved  in the conduct of the election ‘’to play to the rules  and allow the wishes  of the people  to be expressed through the ballot.  The Sokoto state governor who was said to have described the conduct of’’ the Edo election as commendable’’, had commended Tthe Katsina state born Nigerian Pesident over the structure put in place to ensure a Free and Fair election in Edo. He had urged the parties involved to maintain the peace in the state to its conclusion.

Political analysts believe that the outcome of the Edo election would would end the struggle for supremacy between Obaseki and Adams Oshiomhole, a former National Chairman of the party, who ruled the state for two terms.

Poiltical Observers believe that it would go a long way to influence the Ondo state   governorship election next month between Rotimi Akeredolu, the incumbent governor and Candidate of the APC and   Bayo Jegede of the PDP described as his main Challenger.  The two front liners, make up the 17 , Candidates jostling for the governorship position of the state.    

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