We Have Evidence Militants Are In Edo For Election – Oshiomhole | Independent Newspapers Limited
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We Have Evidence Militants Are In Edo For Election – Oshiomhole

Oshiomhole's Legacy Won Election For Obaseki - Gov's Aide
Posted: Sep 12, 2016 at 7:26 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole spoke on  Channelstv  at the weekend on the postponement of the  Edo governorship election and other salient issues. TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI who monitored the session brings the excerpts:

How did you receive the postponement of the election?

Like everybody else, I was surprised and I made a comment on that. First, we had our final rally on Tuesday. If I had an idea that the election will be postponed, we would have postponed our rally.  The whole idea was to bring our rally to a close so that we spend the remaining time dealing with the issues of election and logistics.  If anybody have doubt that this is APC state and people have accepted APC for good, the outcome, the unprecedented turnout on Tuesday which was televised live. Our president (Muhammadu Buhari) was in attendance at our rally and our governors. PDP also had their rally and their governors were in attendance. The difference was very clear.  It was the PDP that was afraid to go to an open space. They used a mall for a rally and even at that, they couldn’t get enough people to fill the hall. We had overflowing sea of heads at our rally; I have never seen that kind of crowd and I have been here for eight years. So, what will anybody gain for wanting to postpone the election? The only issue that has been of concern to me which I shared with those who came  was about the fact that, for some reasons, INEC fixed this election to coincide with WAEC examinations and Edo people are very sensitive to issues of examinations.  This is because we are educationally-conscious people but I told those guys when they came to protest that this thing is beyond me but INEC ought to have known that West African Examination calendar is out there. It is not something they fix three, four months to the examination.  So, INEC ought to have cross-checked and ensure that the date is free. That is the only issue of concern to me.

The reason why the security advanced for the shift is because of security threats and not WAEC…

I am telling you the one that I know, the one that anybody can quote me as saying because those people protested to APC, PDP and INEC asking me to prevail on INEC to change the date and I told them it is beyond me.  All I can do is to convey the letter to INEC. That is the extent to which I am involved.

The press release by the police said there were security threats in some parts of the country, including Edo state and cannot guarantee election being conducted at such a time. As the Chief security officer of this state, are you aware of any security threat?

I think that is about being fair here. At the eve of every major holiday be it Christmas, Easter, Sallah holiday, even Labour day, in the last four years, Boko Haram  tend to target and create an embarrassment one way or the other. The security people have always had cause to warn Nigerians to be on the alert, and that they will deploy security to protect churches, mosques so that Boko Haram will not infiltrate. So, it is not happening for the first time.  Even during the last Christmas, Sallah and Labour day, the police had cause to put us on alert.  So, if the police now say this time around, they have intelligence that suggests that Boko Haram want to create a scene somewhere, I am not in a position to dismiss it. Yes, I am the chief security officer but I am not in charge of the security of the federation. All I can tell you is that four weeks ago, it was reported in the electronic media that some Boko Haram elements were arrested at Auchi. They were picked through intelligence and they were paraded at Abuja at the DSS headquarters. So, it is not for you to ask me whether as chief security officer, I know of any security threats. Yes, I am the chief security officer but I am not in charge of intelligence or the police.  I know that the security information I have, I have shared it with the public and it has come to pass. First, before the commencement of the Continuous Voters Exercise,  I raised alarm based on intelligence that my brother in Delta and  Rivers are planning to export militants to take advantage of the continuous voters exercise in collusion with the PDP so that those people  will not be present at voting centres on election day.  Happily, some of these people were arrested. At least, 13 people were arrested in different locations, coming from Delta and Rivers who came to register under the continuous voters exercise. My question to INEC was, if the purpose of this exercise was to register those who have turned 18 between the last registration and today, why will a man who is 29 or 30 years old approach you and you register him? And because INEC does not have the capacity to eliminate duplications, people can register in different states.

The election will come up in two weeks time, are you accepting that?

I think the two weeks is too long but let me say that talking about election violence, we have reported to the police and they arrested PDP officials who connived with INEC EO in Etsako Central to use the data capturing machine in the private home of PDP leaders. Those cases have been charged to court. The militants who came from Delta and Rivers to register and were arrested, 13 of them have been charged.  So, we have evidence of infiltration of militants, which we should not discard. To the extent that I have security responsibilities, I have put this to the police and they have been charged to the court accordingly.  For me, I think the two weeks is pretty too long. I also know so that INEC doesn’t come out with another story. On the 24th will be two weeks and on the 26th is the coronation of the Oba of Benin. Few days before that date, there are couple of things that the crown prince is expected to do.  I don’t think that that will be fair enough to put an election two days to a major even in this kingdom that the Edo state government is fully participating in and every Edo sons and daughters will be celebrating.

What date will you then suggest if you feel two weeks is too long?

For me, my attitude is, If INEC was ready to do election today, what is wrong with putting it next week? Next week will be fine enough.

Comments (1)

  • Sep 13, 2016 at 7:43 am prof. Eugene Idahosa

    Edo election shall be free and fair. Those unscrupulous elements trying to create an unfriendly atmosphere should stay clear.We all are one Nigerian.let’s speak one voice!

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