…as CP assures electorate of their safety
By O’star Eze
In view of the 2019 general election come February 16 and March 2, Garba Baba Umar, Anambra State Commissioner of Police has gotten all political parties to sign a peace accord before him vowing to unanimously promote a peaceful electoral process. This was as the CP enjoined electorate in Anambra State, especially those of Anambra West that they are safe to exercise their franchise.
Reacting to a concern raised during a recent meeting he hosted of electoral stakeholders at Anambra State Police Command, Awka, Umar stated that Anambra State has excelled in handling of herdsmen/ farmers feud in Nigeria adding that his command has taken measures to ensure herdsmen are congenial with their farmer counterparts.
“We make these herdsmen sign an undertaking before allowing them into the state to be held accountable for any damage they cause farmers. We have also been monitoring their activities using helicopters. We assure you that herdsmen will not pose any problem in Anambra State during the elections,” he said.
The CP congratulated the stakeholders for assisting the police in ensuring a peaceful electoral process during the last election in the state and charged them to support the police to replicate the feat in the 2019 elections.
He also assured them of police neutrality during the elections adding that the policemen posted to polling units will receive their full salaries and allowances before deployment to ensure they do not fall victim to bribery by politicians.
No orderlies for anybody during the elections; 3 policemen per polling unit
Speaking on manpower strength of the police, Umar stated that all policemen who had been assigned to high profile individuals will be called back to assist their counterparts in various polling units.
“We have over 4600 polling units in Anambra State and just about 4000 policemen and therefore we cannot afford to leave any policemen with any individual as orderly during the elections.
“We need all the policemen we can get and therefore no individual shall move about with orderlies during the elections as all those assigned to individuals shall be called back to assist their colleagues,” he said.
He disclosed that the police have plans to co-opt other security agencies, except the vigilante, in other to ensure maximum policing of the polity during the electoral process.
He also disclosed that the command has set up a control room from where it would stay in touch with the electorate, taking their complaints for prompt action. He encouraged electorates in Anambra State to inform the police of any suspected malpractice via the following phone numbers 07039194332, 08172026187, and the email address, [email protected] which he promised would be open round the clock.
Party stakeholders share fears
Earlier Matthias Ameke, State Chairman ADP (Action Democratic Party) from Anambra West, reiterated the need to ensure the policemen who are sent to man polling units are properly taken care of.
He also alleged that some polling units in Anambra West are being bullied by herdsmen and their farms being plundered and that the franchise of the electorate in that area might be robbed as a result as people might be scared to come out to vote. He also appealed that all parties be given level playing ground during the elections.
We will resist any attempt to intimidate our agents – PDP stakeholder
On his part, Dr Harry Oraneze, Director General of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation, Anambra State insisted that his party will resist any attempt to prevent their party agents from doing their job at the polling units.
Oraneze stated that while his party would never engage in any form of violence during the elections, it would not tolerate any form of injustice against its faithful.
He applauded the CP for being proactive about securing the polity during the elections and assured him of PDP’s cooperation during the elections.
We don’t need to buy over any electorate – APC state chairman (Acting)
On his part, Basil Ejidike, the acting chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) speaking on the issue of vote buying, said that the APC has no reason to buy anyone’s vote in Anambra State since the APC has “shown commitment in providing dividends of democracy to Anambra people.”
Speaking with journalists after the event, Ejidike cited some projects the APC government has brought to the state which he stated were not done by the previous administration.
He encouraged parties to go out and “woo the electorate,” adding that his party would respect the peace accord signed before the CP by all the parties.
Several other persons from other parties and civil society organisations spoke during the meeting which includes Chukwuka Uchenna, of International Peace and Civic Responsibilities Centre who spoke on the need for assuring the electorate of the security of their lives while exercising their franchise and Akudo Ezeakudo, chairman of Greater Nigeria Party who drew attention of the police to alleged use of fake policemen by politicians.