AHEAD of next week governorship election in Ondo State, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday, said his men will be ready to curb and restrict any possible breakdown of law through violence and other criminal activities in the state before, during and after the poll.
Idris who also expressed the commitment and readiness of the Police force to maintain peace and harmony in all parts of the country, said his men are ready to ensure that peace reign in all parts of the state during the election.
Speaking during a public presentation on the “Security threat assessment for the governorship election in Ondo State” organised by the Cleen Foundation, Idris noted that the forthcoming election has potential for violence going by issues surrounding the election, but said that the Police would be ready to rise up to its responsibility by preventing violence during the election
Idris who was represented by Mr Sola Okediji, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) at the force headquarters, Abuja, said that all security agencies in the country will synergise to ensure the peaceful conduct of the Ondo governorship election.
According to him, all the security agencies and the para-military agencies in the country have been meeting and strategising on ways to ensure peace in all parts of the state during the election.
He however solicited for the support of all stakeholders in the state to support the
Police and other security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the election, saying that the success of the election lies on the cooperation of the stakeholders, especially the contestants.
He said “It won’t be business as usual for politicians in Ondo State because the police will not tolerate any act that could lead to violence in the state. We shall resist all their plans to truncate the peace of the state before, during and after the poll.
“The Police will not tolerate crisis in any part of the state. It is therefore important for the stakeholders in the election to co-operate with the Police,”
The IGP also warned political thugs already imported into the state to find their ways out of the state, saying the Police would do everything to ensure that they are arrested before the election.
Presenting the security threat assessment conducted by the foundation, the Chief Consultant of Cleen Foundation, Dr Sola Omotola said “the November 26 gubernatorial election in the state will be the most keenly contested election in the history of the state since the country return to democracy in 1999.”
Omotola noted that the events that surrounded the primary election of the major political parties participating in the election indicated that the election may be marred with violence in some parts of the state.
He therefore urged security agents to be alive to their responsibilities and monitor activities of politicians closely before, during and after the election in order to avoid a repeat of the 1983 violence, which he said started from the state.
He said “Democracy is not about winning all the time. Democracy is not even about the popular candidate, but the acceptable candidate. The case of 1983 must not be allowed to repeat itself in Ondo State.”
Also, Omotola urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure prompt distribution of election materials to all parts of the state, especially the coastal areas to ensure prompt take-off of election.
He predicted a volatile election process in some parts of the state, especially in Akoko and Okitipupa divisions, urging the law enforcement agencies to beam their searchlights on the areas.