The Ogun State Police Command on Friday said all political actors have been engaged to conduct themselves peacefully to prevent any form of election-related violence and killings during elections in the state.
The PUNCH had reported that during the presidential and National Assembly elections in 2019, gunmen killed a police corporal, Sunday Idoko, during an attack on officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Eredo, in the Yewa South Local Government Area of the state.
Also, in the Ogere-Remo area of the Ikenne LGA of the state, a stray bullet killed a mother of six, Oluwakemi Adeoye, during an exchange of gunfire between suspected political thugs and security agents during the governorship and state House of Assembly elections in 2019.
Reacting to the question on the readiness of the command to avert killings induced by election-related violence in the state, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said adequate machinery had been deployed to ensure free, fair and credible conduct during and after elections in the state.
He also noted that all political actors were made to sign undertakings to conduct themselves peacefully during elections, adding that the undertakings were signed in the presence of religious bodies and other key stakeholders in the state.
Oyeyemi said, “All the political actors in Ogun State have been engaged on various occasions, and all of them have signed undertakings with us that they are going to conduct themselves peacefully.
“The undertakings were signed in the presence of religious bodies and important personalities in the state, including a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Peter Ogunyanwo. So, we have engaged them and they have given us their word that nothing untoward will happen during this election.
“As far as we are concerned, I don’t think such (Adeoye’s killing) will happen because we have already put in place all necessary machinery that will ensure free, fair and credible conduct of the election.
“If you observed the electioneering campaign right from day one, you will realise that throughout the time of the campaign, we did not witness any form of thuggery and that will tell you the extent to which we are prepaid.”
Noting that the command would leave no stone unturned in actualising a peaceful electoral process in the state, Oyeyemi said the command learnt from the events that claimed the police corporal’s life in 2019 and had taken necessary steps to ensure the safety of security agents, INEC officials and the electorates.
Oyeyemi said, “We are collaborating with other sister agencies and tomorrow (election day), we have put everything on the ground to ensure that people will go out to cast their votes and return peacefully. The election will be conducted in a very peaceful atmosphere.
“We have put things in order; all our tactical teams, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers have all been put on their toes to watch out for anybody who wants to cause trouble. We have additional personnel posted to us from different police formations including the Zonal headquarters, Force CID, and Force headquarters in Abuja, so we are good to go.
“Security agencies can’t be caught unaware twice; so, the incident (Idoko’s killing) of that time, we have investigated and reached certain conclusions on the issue and lessons had to be learnt from it. It made us further strengthen the level of our preparedness.
“Secondly, anybody who ambushes the electoral result now is an effort in futility because before the polling agents leave the polling units, the result is already on the server. So, if they hijack electoral results, they are just wasting their time as it won’t affect the result of the election and the politicians are also aware of it, so, this type of event cannot happen again.”