By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos.
In an avowed determination to ensure a hitch- free exercise, no fewer than 5000 security personnel have been deployed for the bye-election of the Ifako-Ijaye federal constituency in Lagos, scheduled for tomorrow Saturday, 3rd December 2016.
The election was consequent upon the death of the former representative of the constituency at the National Assembly, Hon. Adewale Elijah who slumped and died in his Abuja residence few months ago.
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos Command, Fatai Owoseni who made the disclosure at a peace accord meeting by all the contestants, said the personnel were drawn from the Military, Police, Civil Defence Corp and the SSS.
At the event held at the conference hall of the Police Command headquarters, Ikeja, Owoseni said the police in conjunction with other sister agencies are adequately prepared to ensure a hitch- free exercise.
He therefore warned those who are determined to cause violence to desist from the act, vowing that the command was adequately prepared to deal decisively with them in accordance with the law.
The police commissioner reiterated that the command was oblivious of the fact of some contagious areas in the constituency and the need to put in place adequate security.
Owoseni however urged the contestants to appeal to their supporters on the need to be law abiding and shun violence in the course of the election.
“For trouble makers, we want to emphasise that the military personnel deployed to provide security will ensure that those who want to cause infraction will be dealt with. The security are under strict directive that nobody is allowed to truncate the process of the election.
“Five thousand officers and men have been deployed to the theatre of operation”, the police commissioner stressed.
Owoseni warned that no political office holder, irrespective of class or party would be allowed to move around the constituency in the course of the election with police escort or arms, insisting that the act will be strictly resisted.
He further hinted that movement of both human and vehicules will be restricted to the constituency beginning from 12 midnight to the period that the election would last.
Rather than take laws into their hands, the police commissioner advised any aggrieved persons to channel their grievances to security personnel and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On the need for the accord meeting by the contestants, he explained that it was customary for candidates prior to an election day, to embrace themselves, sign an undertaking and promise to control the conduct of their supporters to avoid any untoward act.
Also speaking at the occasion, the INEC national officer supervising south-west, chief Soyebi Adedeji assured that all challenges that might hinder the success of the election, including those associated with the card reader machines have been addressed.
Noting that Lagos is one of the least volatile states during election, Adedeji assured that the assertion would be proved during the election as the exercise would be free and fair.
As at the time of the event, the INEC official disclosed that sensitive materials were being distributed, just as he appealed to the contestants to implore their followers to respect INEC officials during the exercise, saying they are on national assignment.
The candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the election, Akinwunmi Olaitan, who spoke on behalf of others, said they have all discussed on the need for a peaceful exercise, just as he assured that they would cooperate with security agents to ensure a hitch free election.
Also present at the occasion were Balogun Tajudeen, Commandant, NSCDC, Lagos command, Captain P.D Masiyer, Officer Commanding Nigerian Airforce Base, Ikeja, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos, Alhaji Abdul Gangawa and INEC admin secretary, Clement Oha.
Six parties, which include the All Progressive Congress, APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Social Democratic Party, SDP, Alliance for Democracy, AD, Action Alliance, AD and ADC are taking part in the election.