Ahead of tomorrow’s governorship election in Edo State, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the restriction of vehicular movement from 11:59pm today to 6pm tomorrow.
The IGP said the restriction was to prevent the circulation and use of illicit arms and hard drugs. He also said the restriction was to checkmate the movement of political thugs and touts and other criminally-minded individuals, especially from contiguous states from hijacking and disrupting the electoral processes.
Adamu, in a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said: “In line with concerted efforts at ensuring public order and safety, during the Edo governorship election tomorrow, the IGP has ordered the restriction of vehicular movement from 11:59pm to 6pm tomorrow.
“The IGP notes that the restriction order is informed by the need to prevent the free flow, circulation and use of illicit arms and hard drugs and checkmate the movement of political thugs and touts and other criminally-minded individuals, especially from contiguous states from hijacking and disrupting the electoral processes.
“He enjoins citizens to go out en-masse on the day of the election and vote, noting that the police and other security agencies have been sufficiently mobilised to provide a safe, secure and conducive environment for the election.
“While regretting any inconveniences the restriction order may cause the citizens, the IGP enjoins the citizens to see the restriction as part of necessary sacrifices towards the enthronement of democracy. He, however, warns that the Force will not sit idly-by and watch citizens who may want to engage in any criminal act – violent and destructive acts, snatching of ballot boxes, vote buying, vote selling, hate speeches, and other act(s) capable of compromising the electoral processes.”
Meanwhile, combined security operatives, yesterday, in Benin embarked on another ‘Operation Show of Force’ to signify their preparedness to provide adequate security for tomorrow election.
Operatives from the various security agencies in no fewer than 70 patrol vehicles participated in the exercise.
The operatives had embarked on similarly exercises on Saturday and Sunday in the ancient city.
Convoy of the troops moved from the Police Command Headquarters in Benin on Sapele road, Country Home road through Ugbo road.
Other routes covered were the GRA, Adesuwa road, Ihama road and the entire stretch of the Airport road.
Others were Akenzua road, Ehaekpen St., TV road, Five junction, Uselu-Lagos road, Upper Mission road and the Ring road.
Chidi Nwabuzor, spokesman for the police command in Edo, told newsmen that the exercise was to restate their commitment to provide adequate security for the election.
He urged voters to come out en masse tomorrow and vote for the candidate of their choice, assuring them of the protection of their lives and property before, during and after the exercise.
Security agencies that participated in the exercise include police, army, Air Force, Nigerian Customs Service and the Department of State Services.
Others were the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Immigration Service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, began the distributions of sensitive materials to the 18 local government areas of the state ahead of the governorship election.
Addressing journalists at the premises of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Benin, Timidi Wariowei, INEC Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Edo, said the distribution commenced with the farthest local government areas.
“So far, we have loaded about 11 local government. We started from Akoko-Edo, Etsako Central, Owan East and Owan West among others.
“Some have gone and others are completely loaded and are sorting out their security escort and very soon, materials will move to the local governments.
“From the local government, the materials will move to registration areas centres (RACs) and from the RACs, they will move to the polling units and voting points tomorrow morning.
“As you can see, we are fully ready for the election. This is the high point of our preparation, that is moving the materials from the CBN to local government areas,” he said.
… Make election a model, Wike tells Buhari
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use the Edo State governorship election to create hope in the electoral process.
Governor Wike, who is also the chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council for the Edo election, made the appeal yesterday, during a live television programme in Port Harcourt.
He said the outcome of the election would provide hope for the general election in 2023.
Wike said: “Let everyone that loves this country ensure tomorrow election is credible, free and fair.
“The police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should show Nigerians that they can support credible elections.
“INEC should ensure result sheets are not in the hands of individuals. Security agencies should not whisk away collation officers and later bring them back with cooked results.
“Complete manipulation of the electoral process causes violence. No politician will cause violence if the police and INEC do not compromise,” he said.
Governor Wike said there would be a high turnout of voters tomorrow because Edo State people are prepared to put an end to godfatherism.
The Rivers governor said he carried out an independent assessment of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s achievements and is satisfied that he would win the election convincingly.
According to him, no amount of money or intimidation would make the people not to vote for Obaseki.
The governor urged the people to be vigilant and protect their votes because enemies of the state were prepared to truncate their will.
“The agenda of the All Progressives Congress is to win at all costs for us to go to the tribunal. That is why Edo people must be vigilant.
“I must commend the United States and the United Kingdom for the visa ban placed on election riggers in the country.
“They should go ahead and publish their names, so that a lot of things will change in our electoral process.
“Election rigging is worse than armed robbery. So, whatever sanctions that can be imposed will be highly welcomed by the PDP,” he said.