Shock as DSS, Police call for Edo poll shift

•Oshiomhole, Fayose, PDP react •We will consult —INEC •Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu, others sign peace pact

Barely 72 hours to the Edo State governorship election, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police, on Wednesday, shocked Nigerians as they advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election.

According to the duo, the request became necessary “in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats” in some parts of the country, including Edo State.

At a joint Press conference in Abuja, on Wednesday, by the duo, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Donald Awunah, and his DSS counterpart, Garba Abdullahi, said that the Nigeria Police and the DSS, wish to inform the general public that credible intelligence availed the agencies, indicated plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between September 12 and 13, 2016

“Edo State is amongst the states being earmarked for these planned attacks by the extremist elements.

“It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC, which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country, to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.

“While the Police/DSS remain mindful of the inconveniences this request may cause the various political stakeholders, it is our strong resolve that security agencies need not be distracted from ensuring a peaceful and secured Nigeria now and always.

“The public will recall that similar threats were issued during the May Labour Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as the Eid-el-fitr holidays in July 2016.

“However, the security agencies were able to decisively disrupt and thwart the insurgents’ plan. In the same vein, while election is important, the security agencies cannot allow the peace of the country to be disrupted, and we will continue to remain vigilant and ensure consolidation of the successes gained in the current counter-insurgency fight.

“Members of the public are hereby assured that the security agencies will continue to remain focused and committed and are being enjoined to remain vigilant. The attention of the Security Agencies should be drawn to any observed unusual movements or actions by groups or individuals in their neighbourhood.”

We will consult —INEC    •Candidates sign peace pact
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has heightened doubt over the conduct of governorship election in Edo State on Saturday as the commission on Wednesday declined to say if it will go ahead with the election or not.

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at a media briefing in Benin on Wednesday said he was going to consult with the various security agencies on whether to postpone the election or not.

The INEC chairman, who had to return to the venue of a meeting the commission held with stakeholders in the Edo governorship election to update journalists about the uncertainty surrounding the election, said issues involved for the planned postponement were security matters and that they were not connected with the preparedness of INEC for the conduct of the election.

He said, “INEC is fully prepared and mobilised for the election on Saturday. The preparation started six months ago. We have mobilised, we have recruited, we have trained and we have deployed personnel.

“After today’s meeting, the news broke out about security threat. We agreed to take delivery of the sensitive materials from the CBN to our office for further distribution to local government. We have fully implemented all activities in preparation for the election.

“If we proceed, it means getting the sensitive materials from the CBN and once the materials leave the CBN, we consider them exposed. We have the result sheets and ballot papers customised local government by local government.

“It took time for the materials to be delivered. Shall we proceed or leave matters as they are until further clarification with security agencies.

“The independence of INEC will be protected. This is the only body empowered to set a date for election. INEC will do all to protect Nigeria’s democracy. We need to consult with those that gave the advice. They are not in Benin. INEC will take a decision as soon as possible.”

Earlier, a peace pact was signed by political parties participating in the election with the parties promising not to be involved in any act that can undermine a peaceful conduct of the election.

Election must hold —Oshiomhole
Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has boasted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state was well prepared for the Saturday’s governorship election, appealing to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to postpone what he described as the “final burial of the PDP for too long”.

The governor said, “the APC is ready for the election this Saturday and that was why we held our mega rally on Tuesday. After that rally, our people across the state became more committed, more dogged and ready for the Saturday’s election.

“I am already preparing to go to my village to mobilize my people as other party leaders are doing. That is to let you know that we are not relaxing, despite the fact that we know the PDP is already dead and our people are just getting ready for the burial.

“However, security issues are security issues and as regards elections they are very critical. If on their own they are calling on INEC for postponement, I am sure they must have their reasons because they are experts in it.

“If you recall, we raised the alarm that the PDP had planned to import thugs from neighbouring states to help them unleash mayhem on our people because they are not prepared for the election.

“They have not been campaigning because they have no message. They imported thugs into the state, but I wish the election will go on so that security agents will pick them up and expose them.”