By Akanimo Sampson
The 31,000 police personnel deployed for the Edo State governorship election holding this Saturday have landed in trouble following a weighty allegation of open partisanship being raised by the Rivers State Government.
The state government says its attention has been drawn to a worrisome report that the hotel Governor Nyesom Wike, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council Chairman for the election is staying in Benin City, the Edo capital, is allegedly under siege by over 300 policemen.
Information and Communications Commissioner, Paulinus Nsirim, in a statement says ‘’what is more disturbing is that the policemen led by DIG Leye Oyebanji have also been very audible with threats that he (Governor Wike) should leave Edo State.
‘’We want to place on record that the governor was appointed by the PDP as its campaign council chair. It is a legitimate, constitutionally recognized appointment in the electoral rules, guidelines and processes of our country.
‘’It confers on him, the democratic authority to be in Edo State to spearhead the campaign and lend support to the Governorship candidate of his political party. Governor Wike has not committed any crime to warrant this intimidation and we want to state categorically that the siege on his hotel is totally unlawful, illegitimate and provocative.
‘’This is even more so when placed against the backdrop of the fact that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who equally occupies this same position in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and indeed his counterpart, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, are all in Benin, Edo State, carrying out the same assignment for the APC.
‘’They are moving about freely, without any siege on their locations or molestation, threats, harassments and intimidation.
‘’We hereby put the Nigerian Government and International Community on notice that the life of Governor Wike is in danger and under serious threat.
‘’Rivers People will hold the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, personally responsible if anything happens to the life of our Governor.
‘’We also appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, to uphold the tenets of democracy by making good his pledge of ensuring a free, fair, credible and transparent election, devoid of intimidation in Edo.
‘’Nigeria is a democracy. Let us play by the rules.’’
Before now, IGP Adamu had vowed to ensure that officers and men of the force deployed for the election will uphold the standard requirements for a peaceful and credible election.
Speaking in Abuja, the previous Friday, at a meeting the National Peace Committee held with stakeholders in Edo governorship election, Adamu who was represented by Leke Oyebode, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Research and Documentation in charge of the Edo election, insisted that police officers deployed for the election will be guided by the Police Code of Conduct.According to him, “the Inspector General of Police has advised the officers and men deployed for the special assignment to abide by the Nigerian Police Code of Conduct. The Nigerian Police Force has a well-articulated Code of Conduct to ensure that Police Officers do the needful during their assignment at the election duties”.
He assured that the Police was ready to ensure a peaceful election, adding that “nobody can stand on the way of this election”.