The Police will unleash a massive security cordon around Ondo State, comprising 26,000 personnel, three helicopters, 12 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and 20 gunboats, from Friday – 24 hours to the governorship election and on Election Day.
Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris told a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure, the state capital, yesterday that each polling unit will be manned by five policemen, besides others from sister security agencies.
Movement will be restricted from midnight on Friday, he said, adding that security men attached to political office holders and VIPs would be withdrawn.
Also yesterday, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) alleged a rigging plot, spearheaded by some governors and top federal government officials.
The party alleged that a plot was being hatched by the ruling party to compromise the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) to manipulate the outcome of the election in favour of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Rotimi Akeredolu.
Yesterday, the IG said: “We will dominate areas especially the waterways together with the Navy. We are going to support the deployment along the major ways with 20 gun boats. We are going to ensure we have security along the waterways.
“We are going to use dogs and horses especially to protect the INEC headquarters.
”We are going to reinforce the police officers with three helicopters to cover each senatorial district.
”We are bringing 300 vehicles to assist us in patrolling the state.
“Purely for this election, we are going to deploy a commissioner of police for each senatorial district and the whole operation is going to be coordinated by Deputy Inspector General Police of Operation”.
“Each of the police officer for the election will carry a tag. So if we see you outside with police or military uniform in an area that you are not supposed to be even as a serving police officer or a serving military, you are going to be arrested and be dealt with”.
He warned the electorate to shun violence before, during and after the election, and urged the public to cooperate with security agencies in ensuring a peaceful conduct of the election.
“We cannot do it alone because security is the responsibility of all,” he said
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) restated that the election would hold as scheduled.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu told the stakeholders including party chiefs, community leaders and traditional rulers, that the yet to be resolved legal crisis involving one of the parties contesting the election, did not warrant a postponement.
He said: “I wish to assure you of INEC’s preparedness and neutrality. We are not unaware of the partisan insinuation of bias in the nomination of candidates by one of the political parties.
“We are equally aware that party primaries for the selection of flagbearers by some of our political parties tend to be rancorous.
For this reason, while each activity under our election time table is tied to a specific day, the conduct of party primaries, including the resolution of disputes arising from the nomination of candidates, was allocated a whole month from 18 August to 19 September 2016.
”However, where an intra-party dispute becomes the subject of litigation resulting in specific orders of court, INEC shall obey such orders until they are set aside by a superior court. We remain guided by this principle.
”We have taken every step within the powers of the commission to ensure that the election this weekend is held as scheduled and that it is free, fair and credible.
”We have also been assured by the security agencies that they are equally prepared to ensure that there is a conducive atmosphere to support the elaborate plans we have put in place for the success of the election.
We are fully prepared. We see no reason to activate the provisions of section 26 or section 36 of the electoral act and there is no other ground in Law to postpone an election”.