Edo 2016: Group Raises Alarm over Sudden Transfer of Police Officers, Suspects Electoral Fraud
LAGOS SEPTEBER 6TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The Get Involved Campaign, a non-governmental organization has raised an alarm over what it termed “the sudden transfer of the Edo state Commissioner of Police” few days to the governorship election in the state, describing it as a wrong signal capable of undermining free and fair election.
“We also reliably gathered that following this transfer, there is a plan to also replace all the Divisional Police Officers (DPO’s) in the state as part of a grand plot to frustrate INEC’s plans and leave the electoral turf as a free for all,” the Group said in a statement by its Coordinator, Ayuba Ephraim.
The Group further alleged that the “sudden change and movement of security agencies in the state is therefore suspicious as the new structure will only carry out the script of their pay masters at the expense of the electorates.”
The group said the change portend “a very dangerous dimension” to the Edo State governorship election exercise slated for next Saturday.
The statement said that though, the competence of the newly posted Commissioner to the State is not in doubt, but that the sudden transfer of his predecessor gives “a wrong signal as it will undermine the security network and meetings done before now between the security agencies and the commission with a view to ensuring free and fair election and also ensure that the votes of the registered voters count.”
“We therefore wishes to alert the nation of a very dangerous dimension in the impending Edo state governorship election slated for September 10, 2016,” the statement read.
According to Ephraim, “This statement is intended at looking for dark goat before night beckons” since it is now totally clear that the same agents of darkness that have been subverting the will of the people during elections in this country are gathering again, this time through their agents in the security agencies to pervert the cause of justice.
“It is important at this point to situate the inglorious role being played of security agencies especially the Nigerian Police few days to the state gubernatorial election to truncate well established plans by the INEC to guarantee a free and fair election in the state.
“How else do you explain the sudden redeployment of the Commissioner of Police of the state few days to the election. While we do not doubt the competence of the new commissioner of police, we wonder, why now? The sudden transfer by the Police force is a wrong signal as it will undermine the security network and meetings done before now between the security agencies and the commission with a view to ensuring free and fair election and also ensure that the votes of the registered voters count.
“The commissioner was transferred to Police College, Ikeja. The worrisome aspect of it is that he fully participated in the inter- agency Committee on election security of INEC that is said to have completely overhauled and put in place new fool proof elections security architecture that was primarily meant to forestall cases of violence, inconclusive elections and manipulation by political actors.
“This new security strategy was to be tested in Edo State and based on its success adapted in Ondo State. We also reliably gathered that following this transfer, there is a plan to also replace all the Divisional Police Officers (DPO’s) in the state as part of a grand plot to frustrate INEC’s plans and leave the electoral turf as a free for all. This sudden change and movement of security agencies in the state is therefore suspicious as the new structure will only carry out the script of their pay masters at the expense of the electorates.
“Based on the aforementioned, we thus use this medium to inform the general public that should anything go wrong with the September 10 election in Edo state, then we should hold the security agencies responsible and by extension the federal government.
“There cannot be better time to test the new initiative of the electoral umpire but the changes effected among the leadership of the police in the state is a major blow that might undermine the full execution of the strategy which is needed to prevent inconclusive elections.
“INEC, from its official pronouncements is ready for the task ahead and seems to have learnt from its past experiences and has put in place plans to ensure that the election is conclusive and votes of the electorates count, but with this move we all need to rise up and Get Involved in the process to monitor and ensure that rigging is not allowed and the security agencies do not compromise on acceptable standards that would benefit either of the parties involved in the elections.
“We are therefore using this medium to warn politicians against any actions that will jeopardize the conduct of elections in the state and calling on the security agencies to stay above board. However, were this timely warning fails, we urge INEC not to be hoodwinked or intimidated into accepting election results that are fraught with anomalies and secured through manipulation of results and violence. We must support INEC’s initiative to guarantee the nation a free, fair, transparent, credible elections that will mitigate the economic loses that we usually follows flawed elections.”
Ayuba Ephraim, Get Involved Campaign