Decision Day in Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi: DHQ discovers a conspiracy to wreak havoc, INEC confirms preparedness

Decision Day in Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi: DHQ discovers a conspiracy to wreak havoc, INEC confirms preparedness
• DHQ alerts unknown gunmen about the potential for harm.
• The ICPC sends out agents to stop vote-buying
• Police read the Riot Act, caution violent offenders and sponsors

According to the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), there are intelligence indications indicating that desperate politicians are planning acts of violence with criminals dressed in military uniforms.

Major General Edward Buba, Director of Defence Media Operations, sternly warned gunmen planning to pose as military personnel in order to incite violence during Saturday's off-cycle governorship elections in the states of Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa. Buba made this warning in response to questions from reporters during yesterday's biweekly briefing in Abuja.

He added that the Nigerian military will not stand by and watch while its reputation is damaged during this Saturday's election, and he warned them that there would be harmful repercussions for their actions.

As he briefed reporters on military efforts to combat threats from terrorists, bandits and kidnappers, perpetrators of oil theft, and other types of instability around the nation, he gave the warning.

This is a message for the off-season elections that are taking place this weekend in the states of Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi. In order to provide a secure atmosphere in which voters can calmly cast their ballots, the military is being heavily utilized during the election.

Nonetheless, we are aware of preparations by some individuals to pose as military personnel in order to cause chaos and sabotage elections in specific regions. We want to let them know that their actions will have negative repercussions," he said.

In advance of tomorrow's governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) delivered election materials to each of Imo State's 27 Local Council Areas on Thursday. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) branch in Owerri hosted the distribution. Ballot papers, result sheets for the polls, and Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices were the electoral materials given.

The Southeast National Commissioner, Kenneth Ukeagu, told reporters that INEC was prepared for the poll and that it will proceed without a hitch because its personnel had received the necessary training. Additionally, he exhorted voters to cast ballots in large numbers.

He declared, "We are prepared for the election. Since every LGA in the state will host elections, we are sending sensitive materials to every LGA in the state. The security personnel have assured us that there would be sufficient security before, during, and after the poll. We are prepared and in control of our end of the arrangements. On Saturday, the state's citizens must turn out to choose a new governor.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) declared yesterday that its agents had been sent to observe the elections scheduled for Saturday in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa.

According to the commission's spokeswoman, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, ICPC agents had been stationed in 649 wards and 56 local government areas across the three states to keep an eye out for and stop vote-buying and other electoral malpractices at the various polling places throughout the election process.

She stated that the monitoring effort was a reaction to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, inviting the ICPC to help guarantee free and fair elections in these states.

Ogugua ordered operatives to closely follow the ICPC's guidelines for election observation, stressing that they must always behave in a disciplined manner and uphold the highest standards of integrity while on the ground. He also asked that operatives stick close to one another and cooperate as a team in order to accomplish their objectives.

There are worries that tomorrow's Imo governorship election could be affected by INEC's distribution of materials, threats, and counterthreats from Biafra agitators. Different sections of the Biafra agitators are speaking differently about the exercise, aside from concerns regarding the availability of commercial drivers to transport sensitive and non-sensitive goods to the flashpoints.

Some locations have already been designated as black spots in the state; these include the local councils in Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Orsu, Ihitte Uboma, Isiala Mbano, and Okigwe.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by Nnamdi Kanu, urged people to cast ballots, threatening to deal with any INEC official found collaborating with politicians to rig the election. Meanwhile, a group of the agitators, led by Simeon Ekpa, urged people not to participate in the poll.

"Everyone who is hired and assigned to different polling places to assist in manipulating this election is doing so at their own and their families' peril; their relatives need to summon them to order or else they will all deeply regret taking part in this election. Nobody who imposed evil on the populace is deserving of mercy. IPOB spokesperson Emma Powerful said in a statement that the organization's eyes are everywhere in the state, keeping a watch on the actions of political jobbers and criminals.

The Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in charge of Training and Development, Frank Mba, has been dispatched by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun to supervise the election and ensure the safety of people and property.

The Mba has reached the state. The drill will be supervised by no fewer than 2,300 troops, additional security guards, and other paramilitary authorities at various locations throughout the state.

Kanayo Uzoegbu, the commissioner of police for Enugu State, announced on Thursday that 1,500 men were being sent to Imo State by the command. According to him, the goal was to increase security and guarantee that exercise was ultimately free and equitable.

Ad hoc staffing levels sufficient to perform electoral tasks in vulnerable areas have been guaranteed by INEC. To help Prof. Sylvia Agu, the Imo REC, ensure transparent elections, the Commission has dispatched nine Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).

Dr. Timothy Ihemadu, Head of Mission at the International Organization for Sustainable Development (IOSD), expressed alarm to The Guardian on Thursday on increased tension in the state's six vulnerable local government districts.

"A citizen's confidence and fundamental right to vote are limited if they lack faith in their ability to vote, their right to be elected, and the existence of a free and fair political environment.

"We want security to be in place to keep people safe, not to scare them." In order to prevent voter apathy, security officers should be competent and cognizant of the significance of human rights policing, which prioritizes protecting the populace.

He said, "It is anticipated that the NLC order regarding Imo, the blackout, and air travel will affect the smooth conduct of the election as electricity is essential to power election gadgets and the arrival of critical personnel who may face difficulties in reaching their duty post."

In the midst of the increased unrest brought on by reports of weapons being stocked in Bayelsa and the incursion of thugs from neighboring states, the police yesterday pledged to apprehend and bring charges against anyone who incite violence in the province.

The state's already tense atmosphere was made even more so by the two leading candidates and political players who have been exchanging allegations about their purported preparations to carry out acts of violence.

The IGP, Egbetokun, is fully committed to a free, fair, safe, and unhindered democratic atmosphere during the election, but the DIG in charge of Saturday's vote, Sokari-Pedro, warned that no electoral offender will be spared while speaking to a stakeholders' meeting yesterday at the Police Officers Mess, Yenagoa.

Despite the fact that Bayelsa is a peaceful state, he claimed that some local governments have already been designated as hotspots and that the three senatorial zones are all unstable during elections.

"Officers have been ordered to display force; all violent offenders will be taken off the streets along with their sponsors; any citizen carrying a weapon at a polling place will be arrested; if they fail to comply, the police, or the sister agent in charge of the infraction, will take arrests."

"Any guard or orderly who escorts his principal to the polling place shall be arrested and tried in the orderly room; in this instance, failure to take precautions may result in his termination."

INEC reaffirmed in Kogi that it is prepared for the election.  Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, stated that the commission is completely prepared for the election while speaking at a crucial stakeholders' meeting before of the poll. Speaking on behalf of the chairman, Prof. Sani Mohammed Adam, the National Commissioner in charge of the states of Kogi, Kwara, and Niger, mentioned that both sensitive and non-sensitive goods were present.

Because to the unpredictable nature of the state's election process, IGP Egbetokun issued a warning to troublemakers to leave Kogi by Saturday. In addition, he cautioned lawmakers and voters to permit state-deployed security personnel to carry out their duties free from extortion.

For the election, the state has already received large military deployments that will support the work of other security agencies, in addition to the 40,000 police officers and 3,000 personnel from the Civil Defense Corps.

Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State, has meantime advised members of the Nigerian Police and other affiliated agencies to uphold professional conduct during the polls on Saturday. He mentioned that the All Progressives (APC) in Kogi State has a history of conducting peaceful elections. When the governor met with the Inspector General of Police on Wednesday, he was speaking.

On Thursday, the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) urged INEC to put up great effort in reaffirming the trust of the people. IPAC also urged all three states' residents to turn out in large numbers to exercise their right to vote.

Yabagi Sani, the national chairman of IPAC, announced that the Election Results Management System (ERMS) is an innovative intervention that IPAC has implemented. The INEC chairman, along with all 19 national chairs and political party candidates, were recently made aware of this innovative intervention.

Sani stated: "It is essential to select leaders based on their qualifications, vision, and potential influence on the community. Candidates who genuinely represent their interests and are dedicated to the welfare and advancement of their particular States ought to be given top priority by the public. By doing this, citizens may make sure that leaders who will strive to improve their communities and quality of life are elected in response to their ballots.

"People should take the initiative to influence the direction the country takes. Any democracy's ability to succeed depends on the involvement of its grassroots. Through their conduct in the upcoming election, citizens in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi may help construct a strong and accountable democratic system by ignoring the negative tactics used by political actors and concentrating on making educated decisions.

"Rather than party motivations, security agencies' participation in the election process should be founded on professionalism, neutrality, and a dedication to defending our democracy. The assurance of their safety and security must give the citizens confidence to participate in the political process.

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