By Akanimo Sampson
There is a heightened security activities in Edo State ahead of this coming Saturday’s governorship election in the boiling state.
The political tussle between the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari’s party, and the largely persecuted opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been generating unease in the state.
Disturbingly, in spite of the inter-security agencies show of force to alert citizens in Edo of the state of security preparedness for the September 19 election, the PDP is alleging that the opposition APC in the state is plotting to scuttle the election through a frivolous lawsuit.
Security agencies in Edo embarked on a combined exercise on Saturday and Sunday. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that security agencies that participated in the exercise included the Nigerian Army, the Police, and the Directorate of State Services (DSS).
Others were the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Air force, Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Immigration Service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Spokesman for the Police in the state, Chidi Nwabuzor, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), said after the exercise that it was to ensure that the state was well monitored ahead of the election.
Nwabuzor pointed out that it was to send a strong signal to criminal elements in the state that security agencies were ready to ensure a peaceful election and should not be tried, adding that the security agencies were working with the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure a credible election, come next Saturday.
The news agency reports that areas covered during the exercise included Sapele Road, Sokponba Road, Erediawa Road, Murtala Mohammed way, Ikpoba slope/Ramat park, Aduwawa Road, Upper mission extension, New Benin, New Lagos Road, Boundary Road, Airport road, Akenzua road, Ekenhua road and the Uselu/Lagos Road.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, however raised the alarm at a press conference, in Abuja on Sunday, claiming that his party had credible intelligence that the APC, allegedly seeing eminent defeat, had resorted to using fringe political parties to approach the courts with a view to causing a constitutional crisis which will truncate the election and pave the way for an unconstitutional takeover of the state.
Ologbondiyan says, “the said interests who are masquerading through certain political groups are seeking to blackmail the judiciary and stampede the court to violate the clear provisions of the Electoral Act and illegally halt the Edo election.
“Nigerians are already aware that Section 87(10) (11) of the Electoral Act, clearly prohibits the courts from restraining the conduct of party primaries and general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission.”
Continuing, the PDP it is clear that the aim of the APC is to use political groups to drag in the judiciary, trigger constitutional crisis in Edo State, the Niger Delta region and the nation at large and blame it on the court.
“Our party therefore cautions such unpatriotic persons to note that the people of Edo state are ready to go to the poll on September 19 and will vehemently resist any attempt by anybody to tamper with the schedule of election or attempt a forceful takeover of their state”, he says.
Apparently irked, APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, is inviting Nigerians to note that the PDP had become desperate after their alleged rigging plans have been exposed and nipped in the bud.
“The PDP in Edo State is Godwin Obaseki, outside of Obaseki there is no PDP and this is because he has access to the patrimony of Edo people which he is misusing. The PDP knows that their gamble with Obaseki has failed and Edo people are prepared to take back their state hence the desperation.
“Everybody knows that the PDP only exists on paper in Ondo State, they know that Akeredolu who has done very well for the people is coasting to victory that is why they have returned to their violent ways’’, he said.
In the mean time, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Hakeem Odumosu, has deployed 1,000 policemen to further boost security during the forthcoming governorship election in Edo.
The command’s spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in a statement says Odumosu deployed the policemen to complement the men that the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, had deployed in the state for the election.
Odumosu urged the policemen to be professional in their duties and shy away from acts capable of denting the image of the Force and truncating the peaceful conduct of the election in Edo.
“The police commissioner warned the officers and men from Lagos State Command to be of good conduct and exhibit professionalism in discharging their duties before and during the election. Odumosu made the call while addressing the men at the parade ground of the Police College in Ikeja.
“He reiterated the commitment of the Inspector-General of Police to sustain the core values of democracy in Nigeria via fair, free and credible elections.
‘’He also dropped the hint on the welfare packages for police personnel detailed for the Edo special duty as approved by the Inspector-General of Police to boost their morale”, the statement says.