The Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, has advised gubernatorial candidates of all political parties in Osun State to avoid any utterance or action that may tarnish their respective reputation and put the state in a terrible condition.
Professor Ogunbodede gave the advice in his capacity as the Chairman of a One Day Seminar, organized by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, with the theme: “Imperativeness of Police Collaboration with Essential Stakeholders: Towards secured, free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria”
Describing the gubernatorial candidates as men and women of proven credible credentials who are “aspiring to serve their people and contribute their quota to the overall development Osun State”, the Obafemi Awolowo University helmsman charged them to caution their followers not to do anything untoward but that their conduct should further portray Osun State as one of the most peaceful states in the federation. He added that the development of any human society is a collective responsibility of those living therein.
Professor Ogunbodede, thereafter, pledged the unflinching support of the Obafemi Awolowo University to peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians in Osun State, appealing to the electorates to eschew violence before, during and after the election.
Expressing his delight to be at the occasion, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, underscored the importance of holding regular consultation with stakeholders to fashion out ways of delivering violent free elections that will be adjudged free, fair and credible in the observation lens of both local and international observers.
He highlighted the duties of the police to include the provision of armed policemen to accompany INEC officials conveying both sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials to their various destinations before and after the election.
The Inspector General of Police also stated that deployment of vehicular patrols/intervention units at Wards, Local Government Areas and State Headquarters to enforce restriction of movement and ward off any anticipated or unanticipated disruption of the electoral personnel or snatching of electoral materials.
According to him, posting of adequate police personnel to each polling unit to ensure that thugs or armed persons do not snatch electoral materials during voting, and intensive surveillance and intelligence gathering by the Police Intelligence Units to forestall any planned attack or disruption of the elections, would be his priority.
He stated further: “It is an acknowledged fact that the above responsibilities of providing adequate security for elections like the normal conventional police duties cannot be effectively achieved without the support of our identifiable stakeholders like political parties, their candidates, The media, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Domestic and International Election Observers, Opinion Leaders and the rest”, describing them as the mirrors through which we receive a feedback from the conducts and behaviours of our officers posted to police the elections.
The IG posited that the information gathered during these types of interaction will further complement their usual intelligence, guide their deployment strategies and determine where to concentrate their resources and manpower in order to enhance elections security.
He frowned at those who criticized his deployment of 30,000 police personnel to cover the last gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, stating that with hindsight of what happened in Rivers State, police should be commended for massive deployment of its personnel in Ekiti State.
Mr. Idris, then used the occasion to advise politicians and their supporters to desist from certain conduct which might precipitate violence and render the election not credible by local and international observers.
He commended the media for being partners in progress but cautioned them to be wary of what they write and publish before, during and after the election, advising them to discern hate speeches and avoid giving prominence to such stories.