Six days to the much anticipated governorship election slated for September 19, 2020, political parties, residents, eligible voters and other stakeholders in Edo State have expressed fear over the ability of security agencies to contain threats of insecurity before, during and after the governorship election in the state.
Despite assurances of readiness by the various security agencies, palpable tension has enveloped the state ahead of the Saturday poll.
While the two main political parties in the contest are engaged in mutual suspicion and blame game, the ruling Peoples Democtatic Party (PDP) yesterday expressed total dissatisfaction over the security arrangement ahead of the election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday decried what it described as “poor state of security” for the Edo 2020 following reports of armed procurement in the state ahead of the governorship election.
The party alleged that the ruling PDP and its governorship candidate have displayed propensity to perpetuate violence.
In a statement by the chairman of Edo APC media campaign council, Prince John Mayaki, the party expressed worry over the state’s porous security.
Mayaki said: “We are not satisfied that enough has been done to curtail the governor’s tendencies.
PDP and their candidate are completely devoted to violence and we have leaked several reports stating in astonishing detail their plans to foster anarchy in Edo.
“The deputy governor arms regiments of thugs and dispatches them at will. The party imports militants from Rivers, Delta and other neighbouring states.
“The party has several sources posted in the different wards in the state and we have cried out so much that we cannot speak anymore.
It almost appears unbelievable, the reports that we get daily, but they are true.
“They have started to kidnap APC chieftains but what has anyone done about it? Hoodlums were apprehended red-handed desecrating the State House of Assembly, but the legionnaire who in charge of them went and obtained a court order to set them free.”
He called on security agencies and stakeholders to rescue the state from the grip of “a commander given to execrable violence and oppression”, adding that the people should also stay courageous long enough to vote out the “maladministration that we have had to suffer for four years due to non-representation at the state house of assembly.”
But speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday, the state publicity secretary of the PDP, Chris Nehikhare alleged that two top Police officers engaged in the conduct of elections in Kogi and Osun state had been deployed to Edo State to perfect rigging for the APC.
The PDP image maker also expressed worries over the deployment of the Commander of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said to be an ally of former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
He also questioned the alleged presence of military personnel in the convoy of the former national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.
Nehikahre said, “Quite frankly, we are very disappointed with the security arrangement but we are watching the event closely. Police have more men put together than all the polling agents.
“But you the police have been responsible for rigging in Kogi and Osun State, they are co-conspirators and two of them have been sent to Edo State.
NCDC Commander sent to Edo State is an ally of Tinubu to do their bidding.
“Today, Oshiomhole moved about with armed soldiers to intimidate voters. This issue we are taking seriously. We hope the president and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) are aware of this deployment
Meanwhile, apparently aware of the palpable tension over insecurity in the state, security agencies in Edo yesterday embarked on a combined exercise tagged “Inter Agencies Show of Force” to alert residents of the state of the agencies’ preparedness for the governorship election billed for next Saturday.
Security agencies that participated in the exercise included the Nigerian Army,
Nigerian Police Force, and the Directorate of State Services.
Others are 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.
Addressing journalists after the exercise, CSP Chidi Nwabuzor, the police public relations officer, Edo Command, said the exercise was to ensure that the state was well monitored ahead of the election.
Nwabuzor also said 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.
He further said that the security agencies were working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure credible election, come next Saturday.
Areas covered during the exercise include Sapele Road, Sokponba Road, Erediawa Road and Murtala Mohammed Way.
Others are 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.
The exercise would continue today.