By ISuleiman Umaru
Ahead of the Saturday, October 10, 2020, governorship election in Ondo state, Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, who had continued to receive accolades both within and outside the country, including the North American country of the United States, over the tight security maintained to ensure a successful conduct of the September 19, Edo state governorship election appears set to repeat same in the south west state .
The no nonsense IGP, was said to have warned the politicians not to see the Election as a do or die affair and , thus, embark on unorthodox approach like instigating violence, vote buying, ballot box snatching, hate speeches or indulge in other unwholesome practices capable of undermining the peace and stability of the electoral process .
He was said to have made it clear to the 15 governorship Candidates including Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN and the incumbent governor of the state as well as their supporters, that ”the full weight of the Law would be visited on anyone who violates the electoral process that would mar the peaceful conduct of the election”.
He did not spare the security Operatives who may want to see the election as an opportunity to make cheap money. He had warned that ‘’officers of the law enforcement agencies found acting contrary to their Oaths of office or in aiding illicit electoral practices will be strictly and personally held liable with the dire legal Consequences’’.
As a prelude to repeating the peaceful election conducted in Edo state on the September 19, 2020 , governorship election,he was said to have approved the the deployment of 31,000 police men to beef up security in the Edo state governorship election.
With the alleged security lapses that may have been identified in the Edo election he was said to have approved the deployment of 33,000 personnel that would provide security at the Ondo state governorship election.` He had also said that the police Air Wing would provide aerial surveillance during the election to ensure that there is no rigging or any other form of electoral fraud.
According to him, the security Operatives would be deployed to the 18 local government Areas of the state to adequately secure the 3,009 polling Units in in the 204 wards. The police boss may have sent fear to the politicians when he said that Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff’s controlled soldiers would be engaged for the purpose of securing the borders with other states like Ondo and Oyo to forestall political tugs from the nearby states infiltrating the state to cause trouble.
The IGP, may have seen that the undercover security detectives deployed to Edo state during the September 19, governorship election , for surveillance and intelligence- gathering did marvelous job for the Force that he had sent another set of detectives to cover the Ondo election.
Adamu. , the IGP, may have further been encouraged to deploy the detectives to the state because of the state Commissioner of police report of a likelihood of violence and possible cross- border attacks by political opponents. There had been news making the rounds in the state over the last couple of days of alleged arming and movement of thugs by the politicians who are desperate to clinch power by applying subterranean means to win the election.
The good news was that the IGP had assured the people of Ondo state that they have no cause to worry as the security agencies Operatives have agreed to Collaborate and partner to ensure that the conduct of the state governorship Election was successful and the outcome accepted by the participants without any of the losers mobilising the Lawyers to Head to Court to Challenge the result as was the case in Edo Election.
Osagie Ize-iyamu, a Clergy man and Candidate of the APC, who incidentally was the closest rival to Godwin Obaseki, Candidate of the PDP, who won the election, had Congratulated him when he saw that President Muhammadu Buhari had accepted the election as Free and Fair and Congratulated Obaseki.
Note ,if the large the crowd that had followed the electioneering Campaigns of Akeredolu and , Eyitayo Jegede, a SAN, of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is anything to go by, then the Ondo state governorship election, is a clear contest between, Akeredolu, the APC Candidate and Jegede, the rival Opposition , PDP, Candidate.
Political analysts believe that the election could be in favour of either Akerdolu of the APC, or the PDP, Candidate . Uche Secondus, , the National Chairman of the PDP, is optimistic that Jegede, the party governorship Candidate will win the election going by the assurance by Seyi Makinde, the governor of Oyo state, Chairman of the Organising Committee.
Moreso, the governorship Candidates of the of 10 opposition parties in the state were said to have thrown their weight behind Jegede, the PDP, Flag bearer in order to defeat Akeredolu, the APC, Candidate, who had been tipped to win because he has the backing of the Katsina state born Nigerian President and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National Leader of the APC, who has carved a niche for himself as the godfather of southwest Politics.
The Independent National Electoral Commission may have sealed the hope of the Politicians who may want want to rig the election as Godwin Emefiele led Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN, on Monday, October 5, 2020, at the instance of Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and the the Electoral umpire Chairman, released all the sensitive materials for the election amidst tight security at the Ondo office of the Commission . Thi sis is for onward distribution to the 18 local government Areas of the state and subsequent distribution to the Wards and polling booths on Saturday, October 10, 2020.
The Commission had earlier distributed the non – sensitive materials like the Smart card Reader to the state to the state which were engulfed by fire in a recent fire incident at the INEC, office in Ondo. The Value News learnt that the Commission had made adequate arrangements for the movement of personnel and the materials to the electoral locations in all the 3,009 polling Units and 204 Wards across the state.
The Commission was said to have trained and screened all the categories of ad-hoc staff for the election. Unlike past elections in other states, where the ad-hoc staff had been molested and electoral materials tampered with, the situation may not be same in the Ondo election this time around.
‘Yakubu, the Commission Chairman, had said that they are working with other security agencies, particular, the polices , under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES, to ensure a hitch-free and secure election in Ondo state on October 10, 2020.
Perhaps, to ensure that the Candidates approach the election with an open mind,Akeredolu, the APC , Flag bearer, Jegede, the governorship Candidate of the PDP and the governorship Candidates of the other parties that had presented Candidates for the Ondo Election were said to have signed a peace accord on Tuesday, Ocober 6, 2020, barely four days to the Election. The Peace accord was said to have been signed under the supervision of the National Peace Committee, NPC, under the Chairmanship of Abdusalami Abubakar, a retired Army General and former Head of State, who had mid-wifed the third Republic. Republic.
Recall that late September, 2020, Yakubu, the INEC, boss and some of the Commission officials were in Ondo, where they were said to have met with the Council of Traditional Rulers,, security Agencies and the Officials of the Commission in the 18 local government Areas of the state for the purpose of the election. he may have visited the state a second time with the recent signing of the Peace accord by the parties. This may have informed why people believe that Christpher Akeju, the INEC, Commissioner in the state and the National Commissioner are fully prepared for the Ondo state governorship on Saturday, October 10, 2020.