Thirty commissioners of police, an Assistant Inspector General of Police and a Deputy Inspector General of Police will supervise the September 22 governorship election in Osun State.
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, disclosed this at a one-day seminar with the theme, ‘Imperativeness of police collaboration with essential stakeholders: Towards secured, free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria, organised by the Nigeria Police Force. Idris said a commissioner of police will be deployed in each of the 30 local government areas of the state to supervise the election under the command of an AIG and a DIG.
Idris also justified the deployment of 30,000 policemen in Ekiti State for the recent governorship election.
Idris said the decision of the police was informed by the peculiar nature of the state.
He said people who did not realise that police acted on available intelligence, criticised them for sending that large number of policemen.
He said the force would have been flayed if they had deployed 10,000 personnel in Rivers State for a by-election in eight wards but noted that with the disruption of the election in Rivers State, he had been exonerated for sending 30,000 men to Ekiti State for the governorship poll.
The seminar saw all the gladiators in the Osun governorship election, including the candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Gboyega Oyetola and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ademola Adeleke, sitting together on the same table for the first time.
The occasion was also graced by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and the US envoy in Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington and was chaired by the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede.
The Ooni noted that beyond the elections, the time had come for “everyone to come together and talk about the peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians”.
The Ooni also admonished politicians to eschew violence, stating: ” Power belongs to the people. The state of Osun is greater than me and any candidate. We don’t want violence in Osun. It is only God that gives power. So I urge all the candidates to work hand-in-hand for the advancement of Osun.”
The INEC Resident Commissioner in Osun State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, who represented the National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission had resolved to ban the use of cell phones at polling stations during Osun election, as part of measures to forestall vote buying.
He also said INEC recorded 69.7 per cent compliance in the collection of Permanent Voter Cards in the state.
Giving the breakdown, he said out of 1,682,495 registered voters in the state, 1,168,719 collected their PVCs.
He assured of the readiness of the commission to ensure that the votes of the electorate count both in the Osun election and the 2019 general elections.
The US envoy described the event as epoch making, noting that if Nigerians could maintain the spirit of the seminar, the day would never be forgotten in the nation’s history.