Deputy Inspector General of Police, Adeleye Oyebade has described the Edo State governorship election slated for September 19, 2020 as a litmus test for the nation’s nascent democracy.
Oyebade made the statement in Benin while speaking on preparations for the state gubernatorial election holding on Saturday 19, 2020 in the Edo State.
Said he: “The gubernatorial election scheduled to hold in the state on 19, September, 2020 will serve as another litmus test of determining the strength or otherwise of our democratic process.
“Elections in Nigeria have often been marred by a plethora of election malpractices and violence. Violence during elections can exceedingly debase the very essence and foundation of our jealously guarded nascent democracy.
“Elections marred by violence, and other forms of malpractices cannot be said to be free, fair and credible”.
The DIG said election violence is injurious to the nation.
“Election violence can breed fatalities and abruptly cause injuries to the psyche and physical bodies of victims, leaving with them perpetual pains. Not only that, violence especially during elections, could de-humanize us and bring us to avoidable opprobrium in the comity of dignified, civilized democratic nations”, he said.
Oyebade reassured that though previous elections may have had challenges, it is the resolve of the police to improve on them and make the 2020 Edo State governorship election free, better, more inclusive, safer and more credible.
Oyebade said the credibility of the governorship poll and the future of the elections remains the police’s major focus.
He said part of efforts to ensure security for the elections was the setting up of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, (ICCES) which is also replicated at the state and local government levels comprising of members drawn from the Nigeria Police Force and other sister agencies.
The police head said the committee is saddled with the onerous task of providing security in the electoral process at all levels and ensuring very transparent, peaceful, free, fair and credible elections that meet international best practices.
For the effective manning of the polling booths, he disclosed that no fewer than three police officers and personnel of other security agencies would be deployed to each of the 2,627 polling booths, stressing that, officers deployed for this special assignment will be apolitical, neutral and professional in their constitutional assignments.
He urged Edo citizens, particularly the voters, to go out on Election Day to exercise their franchise without any hindrance pointing out, that they are all stakeholders in the Nigeria project.