By Evelyn Usman
The gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, Darlington Iyoha, yesterday, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to play a non-partisan role in the Edo State politics, by ensuring that all candidates get even treatments.
Reacting to the political drama that has been unfolding in the state, ahead of September 19 governorship election, Iyoha, noted that there had been tension occasioned by threats from key players, whom he said had at various times incited the public against the incumbent governor.
According to him: “From attacks on the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, and his guests at the Palace of the Oba of Benin, shortly before the flag off of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship campaign in Benin City on July 25, 2020, to the attempt to take over the state House of Assembly through the support of some policemen and other security agencies, among others, it has become imperative for the Inspector – General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to openly declare his position as a non-partisan boss of the country’s number internal security outfit.
“There had been boisterous comments to use the federal might against the people of the state in ensuring that the APC wins the election against the wish of the majority of the people of the state who are firmly behind the re-election bid of Governor Obaseki.
“The support given by the federal might via security operatives, including the police, to the three lawmakers who teamed up with 14 others whose seats were declared vacant to elect a factional speaker of the House, is a case at hand that calls for serious concern ahead of the election”.
He alleged that the lawmakers had visited heads of security agents in the state, adding that ” such visits were an indictment on the Inspector – General of Police and the heads of other security agencies who should be seen to be neutral. They should not be perceived or suspected to be used as tools by politicians.
“It is on record that before the conduct of the November 2019 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, there were also indictments of the security operatives who were confirmed to have been used as tools by politicians to aid election malpractices.
“The Inspector-General of Police had himself confirmed after the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states that there was violence which marred the exercise in both states. He said fake policemen with uniforms overran the regular policemen. This is after well over 66,000 policemen were alleged to have been posted to these states to maintain peace.
“Also, a non-governmental organisation, CLEEN Foundation, corroborated the IGP’s position after the election , when its assessment of the Bayelsa election said the conduct of security personnel gave room for thuggery, violence, and disruptions.
“The case of Edo should be different because the lives of over five residents of the state will be taken for granted if the Inspector-General of Police allows policemen to be used to subvert the wishes of the people.
“This is, therefore, a clarion call on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and other security agencies to caution their men that would be drafted to the state. They should maintain orderly conduct of the exercise and not to be used to aid thugs to unleash violence on the electorates on September 19 and cart away ballot boxes.
President Muhammadu Buhari should also prevail on the service chiefs to warn their officers and men against being used to promote violence during the election.
“It is our hope and desire that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission be given a level playing field to conduct a credible election devoid of manipulation”, he stated.