30,000 police for Ekiti guber polls
With 30,000 Police men made up of a Deputy Inspector General of Police, and Assistant Inspector-General of Police, 4 Commissioners of Police, 18 Assistant Commissioners of Police, 2 Police helicopters, 250 Police patrol vehicles as well as personnel from other security agencies it will appear no much effort will be required for the conduct of a free and fair election.
Indeed, when Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, and Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, spoke about the state of preparedness of the police for the election, he made the narrative too smooth for any loophole to be identified.
According to him, the decision to deploy such number of policemen to Ekiti was as a result of what he termed “visibly identifiable threat to peace and security” during the election.
He further stated that considering the number of people including VIPs that will converge on Ekiti for the election, the police needed to be on its toes for the pre-election, election and post-election challenges.
Under normal circumstances, the excuse given by the police should have been enough if there were no precedent of police and other security agencies’ complicity in election crisis since the return of democracy in 1999.
For a nation whose citizens have become hapless and in dire need of protection as a result of the general insecurity currently confronting her, the police deployment to Ekiti for the election is curious and suspicious thus raising the question as to the real role of the police in the governorship election.
Some have argued that police deployment during elections in Nigeria is nothing new, but it still does not legitimize the use of armed men to conduct a civil election in a democracy.
It is on record that there is no known history of election conduct where the police is not seen to have been on the side of the government in power.
Evidence abound of how police and members of other security personnel attached to politicians have been used to rig elections in favor of such politician.
It is therefore worrisome that 30,000 police men will be unleashed on a population of about 3.5 million Ekiti people and only a little above 60, 000 will participate in the actual voting.
It is instructive to question why the nation’s security agency will always lock down a system with its attendant challenges as if to say only the fire-brigade approach works in Nigeria?
With widespread killings in the Middle Belt and Zamfara state and of recent, Sokoto, one would imagine that the focus of the IGP will be on those areas were bandits, terrorists and herdsmen continue to kill innocent Nigerians mindlessly.
Rather, the police and those in authority have shown that political power is more important than securing the constitutional guarantee as contained in Section 14 of the 1999 constitution that the primary responsibility of government of the security and welfare of the people.
We call on the present government to consider how it intends to deploy security personnel in next year’s general elections and should not use this as test case of institutionalizing fear and intimidation as a strategy to gain power.
This election, therefore, must not fail with all facts considered.