Friday, 9 September 2016

Edo Election Postponement: Police Boss Explains ‘Security Threat’

The (IG) of Police, Idris Ibrahim, says there are credible threats that necessitated the postponement of the Edo State governorship election.

Mr Idris gave the explanation on Friday during a meeting with the Edo State Governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, at the Edo State Government House in Benin City, the state’s capital.

The election scheduled to hold on September 10 has been shifted to September 28, following the advice of the police and the Department of State Services on the matter, citing threats of attacks by insurgents that have terrorised the nation’s northeast in the last six years.

He promised to ensure that the Edo State election is conducted seamlessly on the new date.

After the police boss told the Governor why he was in Edo State, Governor Oshiomhole called the attention of the IG to some political cases that were yet to be resolved.

After the meeting with the Governor, Mr Idris shed light on the reason for the postponement of the election and the position of the police on election related crimes.

The police will not allow a breakdown of law and order during election, he warned.

Although the new date for the poll has been fixed and countdown started, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not happy with the decision.

Some candidates that will seat for the General Certificate Examination have staged a protest, requesting for the postponement of the election, which they claimed would disenfranchise them, as it was scheduled to hold on the same day they are writing their examination.

After the advice was issued by the security agencies, the PDP described the decision as shocking and a ‘bizarre’.

The PDP, which claims to be the strongest opposition in the state, said it was taken aback on this advice, coming a day after President Muhammadu Buhari attended a Mega Rally of the All Progressives Congress in Benin City which was concluded without any hitch.

A statement on September 7 by the party’s spokesman, Day Adeyeye, highlighted that INEC recently conducted a ‘hitch free’ Senatorial By-Election in Borno State which is a high-point of insurgency in the Country and wondered why the Security Agencies saw no reason to call-off the Election.

On Thursday, the PDP Chairman in Edo State, Mr Dan Orbih, warned that the nation’s democracy was being threatened by the decision to shift the election a day after the electoral body had said it would go ahead to hold the election as scheduled.

“The political parties in the state should see this as a challenge.

“We must rescue democracy. It is under serious threat with what we are witnessing today in Edo State,” Mr Orbih stressed.

They have been no report of any bomb attack in Edo State in the last six years that insurgency was at its peak in Nigeria’s northeast, something critics said  apparently made the advice appear shocking to the party.

While the PDP is expressing displeasure over the postponement of the election,  the APC has raised alarm over what it called an alleged plot by the PDP to unleash violence and cause confusion in the state during the governorship election.

The party, which is holding power in the state, claims that the plan would pave way for the opposition to rig the governorship election scheduled for September 10.

Militants From Delta

A statement by the party said “no less than 500 militants from Delta are being mobilised to critical areas of Edo State to carry out this evil plan using the waterways.

“The primary targets are Edo-North using the River Niger to access areas around Agenebode; Edo-South, via the Osse River; and Edo Central, via Ilushi River”.

Citing internal sources within the PDP, the APC also alleged that the National Youth Service Corps members recruited by the Independent National Electoral Commission to participate in the conduct of the elections were being compromised by the PDP with the lure of huge financial rewards should they agree to act out their script to rig the elections.