By Mohammed Baba Busu
The much talked about Ekiti gubernatorial election has come and gone. However, its memories still linger in our minds.
It is an indisputable fact that the Ekiti gubernatorial election was one of the challenging elections the Nigeria Police Force has handled in recent times.
The election was tasking to the police because of the tension that was created by the aspirants and their supporters, including sponsors, few days to the elections. The election was also challenging because of the allegations and counter allegations raised on the plan by both parties involved to rig or manipulate the election process or results. This, however, set the police on its toes.
In his characteristics nature of ensuring that elections conducted under his watch are free, fair and orderly, IGP Idris immediately mobilized top police officers including his second in command, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Department of Operations, Josiah Joshak, to ensure the election is conducted in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.
He specifically gave (DIG Joshak), a definite mandate- to implement and coordinate the security operations and also supervise the deployment of security personnel for the elections throughout the 2451 polling units/voting points, 177 Wards and the 16 LGA of the state.
DIG Joshak was to be assisted by an Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, 5 Commissioners of Police (CPs), 8 Deputy Commissioners of Police (DC)s) and 8 Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs), to supervise the election.
The IGP ensured that each Senatorial district was manned by a Commissioner of Police.
Furthermore, to ensure adequate security and safety of lives and property before, during and after the elections, the IGP approved the deployment of 30,000 Police personnel to Ekiti State for the election.
The personnel comprised Police Mobile Force (PMF) Units, Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), the Special Protection Unit (SPU), the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), Conventional Policemen, the Armament Unit, personnel of FCIID and the Sniffer dogs section. 4 Policemen were attached to each polling unit throughout the state.
On the other hand, 2 patrol surveillance helicopters, 5 additional Armoured Personnel Carriers, 10 Armoured Personnel Vehicles and 250 Police patrol vehicles were deployed throughout the state including difficult terrains.
These deployments were followed by series of peace accord meeting of all the 35 political parties that participated in the election and their flag bearers, INEC officials, election observers and other accredited stakeholders.
All these deployments by the IGP were to ensure that the process is peaceful, hitch-free and to also to ensure lives and property of residents of Ekiti were secured. This, according to many, was achieved as findings indicated that no one was injured let alone killed during and after the Ekiti election.
Even though there were allegations that some party agents were mal-handled by agents of darkness, the good thing is that no blood of any Ekiti resident was spilled and no life was lost.
Considering that nothing can be compared with human life, Nigerians need to applaud the Nigeria Police Force, and indeed, IGP Idris for ensuring that despite the tension and fear that was instill in Ekiti people, no life was lost during and after the election.
It however baffles ones imagination to hear some ‘enemies of progress’ raising their voices that the 30,000 police officers deployed for the Ekiti election were too much.
Haba! Let us learn to applaud good efforts when we see one, rather than condemning everything because of our ulterior motives no matter how good it is.
The global UN standard of policing stipulates one police man to 4 people. Juxtaposing this with the 30,000 police men deployed for the Ekiti election, one can clearly see that it is even far below the UN standard.
Ekiti state is estimated to have 2,374,212 people and if you divide this figure with the 30,000 police men, you will discovered it is 80 people to a police. This is far beyond the UN recommendation.
It is therefore out of place to insinuate that the 30000 police deployed for the Ekiti election were outrageous.
In fact, IGP did this deployment, in his wisdom, to ensure that no Ekiti son or daughter was molested, injured or killed during and after the election. Gladly, this was achieved as people exercised their franchise in an atmosphere devoid of fear and threat.
This is contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the deployment was not meant to witch-hunt a particular party or group of people, rather it was done to ensure that the process was peaceful, hitch-free and orderly.
Instead of criticizing unnecessarily the number of the police men deployed for the Ekiiti election, Nigerians should appreciate the fact that no human life was lost and no property either privately-owned or own by the government was destroyed during and after the election.
This is a new twist to the kind of elections we have had since the return of democracy in Nigeria where after elections, one would hear of many people injured and many others killed during or after the election.
Nigerians should therefore applaud the IGP for the record he has set of conducting elections without blood bath since he assumed office. He achieved the same feat during the Anambra election and now the Ekiti election, this means that the IGP has a penchant for conducting elections devoid of loss of lives and property.
Nigerians need to encourage the Nigeria Police Force so that they will sustain such feat considering that Osun gubernatorial and the 2019 elections are at the corner.
In fact, to demonstrate his readiness to sustain the tempo and achieve such feat in the subsequent elections, the IGP has assured the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of adequate deployment of armed policemen, vehicular patrols and helicopters during the 2019 general elections.
With the successful conduct of elections devoid of loss of lives and property in the Edo, Anambra and Ekiti, it is believed that with the support of all Nigerians, the Osun and the 2019 elections will be huge success.
What Nigerians need to do at this point is to encourage, support and pray for the IGP and, in fact, the entire Nigeria Police Force to keep doing all that is necessary to ensure that subsequent elections are held without fear of molestation. With this, no doubt, our democracy will sour high.
Busu wrote in from Abuja