By Hamilton Nwosa(Head, The New Diplomat’s Polling, Research and Data desk)
Barely eight days to the tension-soaked Edo Gubernatorial election, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has deployed a Deputy Inspector General of Police responsible for Research and Planning, Adeleye Olusola Oyebade, to oversee the security architecture put in place for the September 19 poll in the state.
According to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba released on Friday, Oyebade will be assisted by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Karma Hosea Hassan who is responsible for Federal Operations at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, and eight Commissioners of Police, respectively.
Mba said, “Oyebade with the assistance of the AIG will superintend over the entire security architecture and ensure effective monitoring of the election and due enforcement of all electoral laws in the State.
“The Senior Police Officers similarly involved in the election monitoring and evaluation include CP Garba Baba Umar, CP Habu Sani and CP Buba Sanusi.
“CP Akeera M. Yonous will coordinate the operations of the Police Mobile Force and other special strike forces.
“Other four CPs will supervise security arrangement in the three Senatorial Districts of the State.”
The road to the September 19 Edo state governorship poll has been characterized by tension, apprehension and anxieties. The two major political parties and their governorship candidates, Mr Godwin Obaseki(PDP) and Pastor Osagie Ize-iyamu(APC) have engaged each other in protracted verbal campaign war.
Similarly, the political space in the state has been thrown into a frenzy of sort culminating in intense heated friction among various contending political actors and combatants.
The political camps of Governor Obaseki and that of erstwhile national Chairman of the APC, comrade Adams Oshiomhole have never failed to renew their war of words and campaign of mudslinging. The road to the current crisis and fight- to- finish has been long and windy. Recall that prior to the APC governorship primary in Edo State , both camps threw brickbat at each other following an alleged mock primary for the governorship election organized by the APC faction loyal to Oshiomhole then, otherwise known Edo Progressives Movement (EPM).
The said mock primary which allegedly took place at the Benin residence of a former deputy governor of Edo state, Lucky Imasuen, notwithstanding the restriction on social gathering ordered by the federal government and measures put in place by Edo state to curb the spread of the contagion-Covid-19.
This reportedly drew the ire of Governor Obaseki’s faction and loyalists , triggering a protracted round of accusations and counter accusations. While coming down heavily on Oshiomhole, the camp of the Governor had accused Oshiomhole of being insensitive to the fight against Covid-19 amid the pandemic, disregarding government directive against mass gathering.
It would be recalled also that Obaseki’s camp had then through a statement issued by the Secretary to the Edo State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie said:“The coronavirus pandemic has not only shut the global economy and disrupted the world as we know it, it has led to the loss of over 200,000 lives globally, with Nigeria having its fair share of casualties.
“It is then most despicable of Comrade Oshiomhole to show such insensitivity by spitting on the graves of these people; endangering the lives of millions of Edo people and undermining the efforts of government at the state and national levels to halt the deadly campaign of this invisible enemy.”
The statement had further stressed that “ the meeting was organised by a group of dissidents who make up the EPM with the active backing of Comrade Oshiomhole, who, it was reported, drew up a delegates list for the exercise. It must be noted that the gathering was held in a house of a member of the EPM, with the attendants numbering over subsisting directives on public gatherings as prescribed by the national and state governments.”
“For the state government, organising such a gathering at a time when the nation in particular and the world in general seem to be battling a common and an unseen enemy, was a total disregard for the people of Edo State.
But in response, the Oshiomhole’s camp wouldn’t let things go down unchallenged. The Director of Communication of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation, John Mayaki, quickly waded in, warning the Edo State government to leave the APC alone and Oshiomhole alone. According to Mayaki, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has adhered strictly to all measures announced by the government and the Presidential Task Force charged with the management of the viral disease.”
He added then: “He has also joined efforts with Progressives across the country to offer relief to the Nigerian people and generate pragmatic ideas that can help the country return to normalcy in the shortest time possible without endangering lives.
“It is neither a constitutional duty for the National Chairman of a party(as Oshiomhole was then) to conduct mock primaries, nor something Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has ever done in his long history in politics.
“Those at the said meeting the Edo state government dubbed a ‘mock primary’, have since offered a rebuttal, showing evidence that the meeting, held in observance of social distancing guidelines according to them, was done to articulate ways to support the Edo state government in the fight against COVID-19 following widespread complaints from residents of the state.”