The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole has justified why full Military force will be needed at the Saturday’s Governorship election in Ekiti State.
The former Governor of Edo State said that effective presence and performance of both the Nigeria Army and the Police Force is needed at the state governorship election scheduled for Saturday 14th July.
The Party Chairman, stated this while reacting to reports in the media that the Nigerian Police deployed 30,000 (thirty thousand) police officers for the state election.
Speaking to journalists in his campaign office in Abuja on Monday after a meeting with the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, he added that it isn’t the number that matters but the effectiveness of the force in ensuring safety of voters and ballot boxes.
“Whether they should use the military or not, I don’t think you want to argue that; over the years since 1999 and 2003, the armed forces have always been deployed to election states, don’t forget when I was in Edo state,
I told people that I want the armed forces to be involved in the election because the rigging machine is serviced by criminals who are hardened and who are often hired, now if you have criminals wielding AK 47 on an election day, and the police is overwhelmed you want to say the army should not be deployed”, he queried.
According to Oshiomhole, “We shouldn’t worry about who we deploy, I think we should all pray that however people are deployed, at the end of the exercise, we are not counting dead bodies.
“My experience in Edo is that you will hear stories like this, no matter how many people are deployed, in the end you will find no police man, I have seen that in Edo. The important thing is that regardless of what the police choose to do, regardless of the number they choose to deploy,
let us ensure that those who are going to vote are safe and that the votes cast are secure. I don’t think we should dictate to the Inspector General of Police how many people he wants to deploy”, he noted.
The APC National Chairman also appreciated the British government for their support in promoting democracy in Nigeria.
Mr. Oshiomhole assured the British High Commissioner that he would do everything possible to ensure a free and fair process in the Ekiti governorship election.
“The process is more important than the outcome because we are looking at the Nigeria project in terms of sustaining democracy not the survival of a particular political aspirant whether it is on my party platform or in the platform of the opposition”, he said.
On his part, Mr. Arkwright who said his country is interested in Nigeria’s democracy added that they intend to send observers for the election to ensure it is free and fair.
“The British High Commission will be sending a team there to observe the election and to ensure that they go smoothly, ensure that INEC can do its job, security forces do their job and basically to ensure that the people of Ekiti state are allowed to freely express their opinion, vote along with their conscience and to be able to do so in peaceful manner”, he added.