By Nwangwu Uba
The initial pessimisms over the Presidential and National Assembly election on Saturday, February 23, 2019, may have died down with the total security provided by Mohammed Abubakar Adamu , the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. .Political thugs who may have wanted to cause trouble or snatch ballot boxes during the election could not have the opportunity to carry out their plan because of the watertight security at the pooling centers.
Political watchers believe that Adamu may have taken advantage of the one week postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to perfect its security arrangement for the election that the electorate could vote without being intimidated from any quarter. Nathaniel Nduka, an Aba based trader gave it to Adamu to have adequate security arrangement for the general elections that did give room for rigging. for Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party , PDP, to have said that if the election did not favour him and as a ”democrat” speaks volume. President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election , on the ticket of the All Progressive, who voted with Aisha, the First Lady in Daura, his home town, in Katsina state, was said to have made a similar statement to accept the outcome of the result .
As a prelude to the election, was said to have deployed the Force six Deputy Inspector Generals, DIGs, to the six geo-polical regions: south south East, south-south, south west, north centra, north east and north west including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.. They were given a mandate to ”ensure adequate presence, coordination, supervision and implementation of security strategies for the elections in all polling Units across the country, Registration Area centers, RACs, Super RACs, Collation Centers, INEC offices , government and critical national infrastructure, flash and vulnerable points across the states of the Federation.
The Assistant Inspector Generals and the Commissioners of Police in their respective Zones and state Commands were also given a matching order to tighten security in their areas and endeavour to work closely with the senior officers deployed to the three Senatorial districts in their respective states on election duties .
The acting IGP ,may have left no one in doubt that he knows what he is doing going by his participation in previous elections in the country as he was said to have directed the Election Intelligence and Monitoring of security personnel deployed to the states and FCT to intensify surveillance , intelligence gathering and monitoring of security personnel deployed nationwide ” for election duties.
He also had had a word of advice
Inspite of the tight security in Rivers state, there was no voting in Okirika , home town, of Dame Patience Jonathan, Nigerian’s former First Lady. This is because the electoral materials for the election were said to said to have been hijacked by party thugs, forcing INEC, to suspend voting in the area. The people may have realised there is not room for rigging and thus resorted to use force to snatch the ballot boxes. There were also reported cases of snatching of ballot boxes in Port Harcourt, result sheets in Ahoada East and Etche , The Value News had it on reliable Authority that electoral materials were aslso snatched by party thugs in Khana local government.
Many believe that the situation would have been worse in Rivers state both not for the heavy presence of security operatives in the state on the orders of the IGP. The situation is the same in several other parts of the country but not as pronounced as it was in the 2015 general elections.
The Army may have listed complaints by politicians that they have no business in the conduct of election as it it was purely a civil matter to have its distance away from it. Tukur Buratai a Lt .General and Chief of Army Staff , was said to have created a situation room to be manned by soldiers in pursuance of its mandate to help create a secure environment for the conduct of the 2019 general elections. The Army had urged Nigerians to take advantage of the situation room to ”forward genuine information on security matters as may arise during the period of the elections. The people of Borno state appears to have taken the Army situation room to invite the army over attempts by the BokoHaram Insurgents to disrupt he elections in some areas in the state. The quick intervention of the soldiers may have saved the situation as the people were made to vote even in the Internally Displaced People, IDP, Camps, were bombs were said to have been detonated disrupt voting.
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