Saturday, October 3, 2020 6:00 am
· Says Security Aides must not accompany VIPs or Political appointees on the Day Election
…Guiding against recurrence of 1983 electoral violence
What happened in 1983 when death and mayhem were unleashed from the pit of hell on the political space in Ondo State is still fresh in the memory. Thus, as part of efforts at ensuring effective coordination and full implementation of security arrangements towards a peaceful election in the 10 October 2020, Ondo State Gubernatorial Election, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A. Adamu, has deployed DIG Adeleye Olusola Oyabade, Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Research and Planning to administer the general security arrangement for the election in the State. Also deployed to assist the DIG are, AIG Karma Hosea Hassan, Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Federal Operations (FEDOPS), Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja, and eleven (11) Commissioners of Police.
The Coordinating DIG, Ondo Gubernatorial Elections, has been charged by the IGP to bring his wealth of experience to bear by ensuring the due enforcement of all electoral laws throughout the period of the election. CP Garba Baba Umar will be in charge Monitoring/Evaluation and will be assisted by CP Habu Sani. Other Senior Police Officers deployed to handle other layers of security in the State are: CP Abiodun Alabi, CP Bishi Omololu, CP Ashafa Kunle, CP Akeera M. Yonous, CP Buba Sanusi, CP Audu Madaki, CP Evelyn Peterside, CP Sadiku Gbenga and CP Abutu Yaro.
Meanwhile, the IGP has warned that no Security Aides will be allowed to accompany VIPs or Political appointees on the Day of the Guber Election noting that severe punishments will be meted out to anyone who violates the order.
Officers and men of the Force as well as personnel of other security agencies deployed for the election have also been charged by the IGP to conduct themselves professionally and work in line with best practices as highlighted in the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Elections. He also enjoins members of the public, especially politicians and their supporters to cooperate with the Police and other security agencies in the national assignment of guaranteeing a hitch-free gubernatorial poll.
Guiding against recurrence of 1983 electoral violence
As we published on this platform in the past, conflict happened between the late Governor Adekunle Ajasin and his Deputy, Akin Omoboriowo that sparked off crisis of murderous magnitudes in 1983. Ajasin who had been governing since 1979 was seeking re-election and his Deputy too wanted to govern. In the primary election, Omoboriowo alleged that he was rigged out in favour of his principal. Consequently, he changed camp to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) on the platform of which he contested.
In the governorship election, Omoboriowo was declared winner by Dapo Alibaloye, the Ondo state electoral commissioner. All hell was let loose, because the allegation was strong that NPN and Alibaloye rigged Ajasin out.
However, when TheNEWS confronted Alibaloye on the matter, he defended himself:
“If that opportunity comes back my way today, I will do what I did in 1983. I will do it! I was not on the field, I was a returning officer and I was to return the figures that were added, pronounce them as they were added.
Omoboriowo had the highest figures before me by what was tallied. And I was there, it is true that the UPN, NPN, they said this one is from so, so, and each returning officer was accompanied by a police officer. I did not have the power to cancel it on my own at that time and if let’s say that I knew the right result, I didn’t have the power to cancel it.
The alternative, therefore, was for the state not to have a result, then as a senior civil servant, I would have been irresponsible for not announcing the results, because making a bad decision is better than making none.
The NEWS asked him to clear the air on how he mysteriously escaped when violence erupted after that announcement. “There was a myth waxed around how you escaped from Akure. Some said as an Ekiti man with relevant African insurance, you disappeared, using transponder (egbe). On a serious note, how did you leave Akure because some people allegedly wanted to attack you?”
Alibaloye replied: “I do not know whether I was to be attacked or not but I finished my work, went to my house and took my bath and started off to Lagos that night. Those who wanted to attack me, maybe God stopped them, saying this person is not what you think, so there is no power that is above that of God. God was with me and ever since I have lived. Were they not around to use that their foul power? God knows I didn’t do anything wrong. I had to sign when they had added the figures. That’s all.”
However, not many were as lucky as Alibaloye. Four NPN stalwarts were roasted alive in Akure. Olaiya Fagbamigbe, a member of the federal House of Representatives, Awoleye Agunbiade, former majority leader in the state house of assembly. Worse still, NPN official R.A. Agbayewa and his wife were beaten to death by the mob.
The Police and the media, especially, the Ondo state Radio Vision Corporation, made the violence worse as the latter was making announcements about the escape route of the Deputy Governor!
Just as the Police were willing tool in the hands of NPN then, this time, the Police were allegedly in cahoots with the Governor. The Commissioner of Police, Salami, told the Deputy Governor: “We are not saying you should not go out. Since you are defecting, even your letter was brought to me in my office this evening that you are doing it (decamping)…
“What the government is saying is that you cannot go out with official vehicles. This is politics, I am not saying it is right. This is a government house, the governor is the one talking, give me a few minutes, let me talk to my boss.”
The Deputy Governor replied: “I have tried all constitutional and acceptable means to prevent this crisis. You are being used by the governor to deprive me of my constitutional right; I am highly disappointed that a policeman of your caliber can be used like this.
“I personally paid for this vehicle. You should not have put yourself in this mess. Let me tell you, you cannot repeat what happened in this state in 1983 because Ondo State people will resist you and you and your emperor with everything.”
However, in a statement signed by Segun Ajiboye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Akeredolu said the story, which claimed that the Commissioner of Police, Ondo State Command restrained the Deputy Governor from leaving the Government House on his directive was a concorted and devious lie meant to discredit him.
“It should, however, be placed on records that it is a time-tested code in government’s business for officials to take inventory of offices and quarters before and after an official is moving in or out of offices or quarters.
Accordingly, the CP’s intervention which was at the instance of an almost manipulated security apparatus at the Government House was most desirable to restore law and order. It becomes particularly worrisome and suspicious when aides of the Deputy Governor insisted on leaving the premises with items wrapped in unclear ownership as late as 11 pm. Governor Akeredolu reiterates his commitment to the rights of all, including the Deputy Governor. But he has a duty to be firm and dispassionate in exercising the roles assigned to him.
Notwithstanding the above, Ajayi, on Sunday, 21 June, finally dumped APC and joined APC in Apoi, Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.