From Matthew Aramunde, Lagos.
The Lagos state Police Commissioner, Kayode Aderanti has called on all parties to allow for a level-playing ground as the country inches towards the 2015 general election.
He made the demand when he held meetings with a cross-section of political parties in Lagos state at the Police Officers Mess in Ikeja.
In his opening address, the Commissioner noted that the meeting was first and foremost an opportunity for the parties to get to know and familiarize them with his Command’s grand plan to achieving a hitch-free election next year, as according to him, the Police will as usual allow for a level-playing ground irrespective of party affiliation.
Speaking further, he said he is optimistic that Nigerians, in spite of their cultural, religious and tribal affiliation, believe in the government of the day, nay our nascent democracy, which we presently are savoring. He said, backed by these belief, all Nigerians will no doubt, enjoy the dividends of democracy “if we simply play by the rules”; he, therefore, enjoined them to conduct their campaigns in an atmosphere of conviviality.
He pleaded with the party representative to always notify the Command about their programmes ahead of any gathering, so as to allow his Command give adequate security to forestall any ugly occurrence during the electioneering in the state.
“It is very important that we should not allow the challenges, gridlocks, horse-trading that is bound to confront us, as long as we have it behind our minds that the end justifies the means; as we inch towards the Promised Land, we should play the game like very mature, law-abiding and patriotic Nigerians. “
Sounding a note of caution, he said the Command will not tolerate acts of thuggery, violence, maiming, which certain elements seem to have introduced into our political culture.
He admonished them to educate their teeming followers, but stressed that, as Nigeria moves towards another opportunity at deepening democracy, it is his wish and desire that the followers should eschew violence, as according to him, violence does not pay.