AN ADDRESS BY IGP MOHAMMED ADAMU, NPM, mni, THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE AT THE STAKEHOLDERS' MEETING ON MONDAY, 5TH OCTOBER, 2020 AT THE DOME EVENT CENTRE, AKURE ON THE FORTHCOMING ONDO STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION
I feel honoured to address you today as stakeholders in the electoral process of Ondo State. This forum, which usually precedes major elections in our country, has become an indispensable platform for interaction between the electoral umpire, the electorates, political actors, other stakeholders in the election process and security agencies to mutually address issues that will engender a peaceful, credible and successful electoral process.
2. In ensuring the credibility of any election that will be adjudged as free and fair, election security alongside other factors such as fair play by the political parties and their candidates, as well as dedication of all stakeholders to see the process through are essential. Election security covers both personnel, electoral materials and the entire processes from electioneering campaigns to the voting, collation and the eventual announcement of the winner.
3. Let me sincerely appreciate all stakeholders that worked assiduously together in delivering a peaceful, credible, free and fair election process in the recently conducted Edo State gubernatorial election. Just as I assured of the avowed commitment of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to a free, fair, credible and successful election in Edo State, I stand here today to once again unequivocally reassure all political actors, electorates, local and international observers and other stakeholders that the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, as the lead agency in election security management in the country, and other security agencies shall maintain political neutrality and professional in the exercise of our statutory duties as provided for in the Electoral Act and other enabling laws in this Ondo gubernatorial election.
4. In ensuring the credibility of the process, we have undertaken security threat assessment and all the flashpoints and actors engaged in, or planning to threaten the electoral process in Ondo State have been identified and strategies have been emplaced to frustrate their criminal, unpatriotic and undemocratic intentions.
5. In order to mitigate the identified threats, we shall be deploying, aside our intelligence assets, a total of 33,783 police personnel on election security duty in Ondo State. This will comprise of 30,933 conventional police personnel and 2,850 Special Police Units. The Police deployment will be complemented by an additional 3,500 manpower that will be drawn from other Security Agencies. The Military will be engaged for the purpose of securing the Inter State borders while the Nigeria Police Airwing will provide air surveillance.
6. These personnel shall be deployed to adequately secure the 3,009 Polling Units (PUs) in 203 Wards spread over the 18 Local Government Areas of the State. They are to protect the personnel and assets of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the electorates, and residents of Ondo State in general before, during and after the elections.
7. The rationale for these deployments is purposeful and strategic. Firstly, we are drawing from the experiences garnered in the recently concluded election and proactively responding to the outcome of the intelligence analysis arising from our election threat assessment of Ondo state governorship election. Secondly, the deployment is equally to deny misguided political actors that might be bent on threatening the elections through acts that are inimical to the dictates of the Electoral Act, the pleasure of manifesting their ignoble traits. Thirdly, we are, by the deployment, sending strong warning that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies are resolute to bring recalcitrant characters threatening the process to justice no matter their status in the society or political affiliation.
8. As we are all aware, there have been pockets of violent attacks by political opponents against each other in some areas in the state particularly in Akoko and Ipele axis. As condemnable as these incidents are, because electioneering campaigns are avenues for the candidates to market their manifestos to the electorates and not arenas of conflicts, it would appear that those bent on causing political crises in the State are clearly testing our collective will to decisively deal with such threats. It is on that note that I hereby warn violence mongers to immediately desist from their uncharitable deviant activities or be prepared to face the consequences. However, political actors and law abiding electorates that are desirous of a peaceful election in Ondo state can be rest assured of optimal security as they exercise their electoral rights.
9. It must, b be noted that the success of the upcoming election is dependent on the mind-set of all of us here seated today. In this regard, I call on all the political parties to embrace the virtues of democracy by seeing elections as a call to service of the people and not 'a-do or die' affair, even as I implore parents and guardians to counsel their children and wards to resist the unprofitable urge of being recruited by any politician for thuggery and other acts of violence.
10. I wish to reassure the political parties and indeed the peace loving people of Ondo State that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies involved in the conduct of this election have commonly resolved in line with our respective Oaths of Office and Allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that this election shall be free, fair, credible, and conducted in a safe and secure environment.
11. Accordingly, you are all enjoined to conduct yourselves within the dictates of the Electoral Act and other relevant laws in order to avoid pitching yourselves against the law enforcement agents. In this regard, and for purpose of emphasis, you are all to be guided by the following on the Election Day:
1. No one is allowed to wear any cloth, emblem or colour signifying any political party to the polling units.
2. No person is allowed to move around with security details around the polling units. Indeed, appropriate directives have been given for the withdrawal or scaling down of such security details around politically exposed persons and other personalities in the State until after the elections.
3. Everyone is enjoined to vote and return to their respective houses or remain peacefully within approved perimeters of the polling centres.
4. No one is allowed to move about from one polling unit to another as there shall be restriction of movements on the day of the election.
5. Only INEC accredited Election Monitors/observers are allowed to move around for the purpose of election monitoring and they must all wear their INEC accreditation tags.
6. Only accredited journalists are allowed to cover the election. All such journalists must carry their accreditation tags.
7. Praise singing, drumming and dancing around the vicinity of polling unit are not allowed.
8. Vehicles branded in any political party colour or emblems are not allowed to be deployed on any election assignment.
9. Selling of alcohol beverages around the polling booth and collation centres is totally banned.
12. It is to be additionally emphasised that aside these sets of guidelines which fall under the provision of the Electoral Act, any person that violates any components of the Criminal Laws including being in possession of weapons of violence of any description either on the streets or around the Polling Units, engage in any violent act, attack critical national assets, engage in corrupt inducement of the electorates, or threaten public peace in any manner before, during and after the elections shall be apprehended and charged under the appropriate sections of the law.
13. The police and other security personnel to be deployed have been trained and instructed to be as civil as possible in the discharge of their election security mandate, but firm and decisive enough in their response to any electoral breach. They have also been duly oriented and kitted in line with the COVID-19 safety procedures. I call on you all to cooperate fully with them in this national security assignment.
14. I thank you all for your attention and pray that the Almighty Allah (SWT) should continue to perfect our electoral process.