APGA urges Police, INEC to bar party chieftains from collation centre

Posted by News Express | 16 February 2019 | 1,188 times

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To avert a repeat of the 2015 experience, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has appealed to security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bar politicians and party bigwigs from gaining entrance into the INEC state headquarters in Umuahia during collation of results.

Abia State Chairman of APGA, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, made the appeal in Umuahia during a meeting organised by the Police to brief stakeholders of the security arrangement for the polls, beginning with the presidential elections originally scheduled for today but now rescheduled by a week.

Ehiemere, while making his contribution after the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Anthony Ogbizi, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 9, Wilson Inalegwu, and the State Commissioner of Police, Ene Etim Okon, had briefed the audience, commended the police for the security arrangements that have been put in place.

However, he warned that the Police top hierarchy should ensure strict implementation to guard against sabotage by field officers.

Recall that in 2015, Peoples Democratic Party chieftains were said to have “invaded” the INEC, Umuahia headquarters and “intimidated” the Returning Officer for the governorship election to accept results from Obingwa and Osisioma local government areas, earlier cancelled by the poll officers.

Having seen how security operatives have blocked the road leading to INEC office and were denying access to people who have no business in the place this time around, Ehiemere said he was excited.

“I am excited by what the security agencies have put in place. The security put in place is unusual. It is a great departure from the past.

“I want to appeal that there should be no sacred cows. Let nobody, even the governor of this state or any high ranking party officer, be allowed to go to INEC office where those who will announce the result are. That is the only time we will actualise what is being put in place,” he said.

“INEC and security agencies have assured us of free, fair, peaceful elections in the state. Shakespeare says there is no art to see the construction of a man’s mind in his face. My appeal is this, you know if monkey is passing through the farm and is carrying the baby at the back, the mother may not know that that the baby has plucked fruit and thereby committed stealing.

“We want to appeal, let all these things were are hearing that have been put in place, let the foot soldiers not sabotage the efforts of leaders of the security agents and INEC,” he added.

Earlier, the DIG, Ogbizi, hard sternly warned that anyone who was out to disrupt the polls would have himself/herself to blame.

Ogbizi, the DIG in charge of Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), who presided over the stakeholders meeting said: “Any person that will come out to disrupt the polls, the law is there to take care of such a person.” He urged the public to contact senior Police officers at polling stations to make enquiries, complaints or give information. “You must also tell us in time, any area that you perceive that miscreants, hoodlums or trouble makers are gathering to disrupt this process.”

He noted that the 2019 elections were “very important because your vote would determine the kind of leaders that you want to come.”

While urging Abians to troop out and vote, Ogbizi who was deployed to the South East on election duty, added: “You know that the world is watching us. Whatever we do will be recorded. If we do not go out to vote, we cannot turn around to blame the leaders tomorrow. The message is, please, go out and vote because every security arrangement is on ground to guarantee your safety.”

“We will leave no stone unturned to protect your votes, we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the process is conducted peacefully and in a secure atmosphere,” he promised, adding “we have come to appeal to you to cooperate with us so that we can have peaceful elections.”

Ogbizi commended the AIG and Commissioner of Police for making adequate arrangements for a hitch-free polls and enjoined the electorate to give the security agencies the necessary support and cooperation needed to conduct free and fair elections.

Speaking, the CP, Okon, assured that that the security agencies “would provide level playing ground for all to go and exercise their civic responsibility” as tactical teams would be positioned near identified flash points.

“I can assure you that we are prepared,” the CP said while giving details of security deployments and operations, adding that “there will be adequate security to provide that conducive atmosphere necessary for people to exercise their franchise.”

The meeting was graced by heads of other security and para-military agencies in Abia, including the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Customs and Immigration.

Source: News Express

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