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Intrigues as security agencies plot to postpone Edo guber poll



INEC boss Yakubu gives himself pass mark, says elections so far proves INEC not under Buhari, anybody’s influence

The Federal Government, acting on the advice of security agencies, may have concluded plans to postpone the Edo State gubernatorial polls slated for Saturday September 10.

The fears of a shift come on the heels of a call on Wednesday by security agencies led by Nigerian Police Force and Department of State Services (DSS), advising the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to postpone the governorship election in Edo State on grounds of security threats posed by “insurgents” and “extremists”

The claim of insecurity was disclosed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Don Awunah and Garba Abdullahi of the DSS, at a briefing with the media in Abuja.

According to them, it became necessary to call for the postponement of the election owing to threats of those they referred to as “insurgents” and “extremists” to cause mayhem in the country between September 12 and 13.

The concern of the security buffs came only a day after President Muhammadu Buhari and Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the All Progressives Congress (APC) national Chairman, led other governors and leaders of the party to a final rally in the state to sell the candidate of Godwin Obaseki to Edo people.

Earlier on Sunday, the leading candidates in the polls Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Obaseki of the APC had slugged it out in a live debate hosted by Channels Television to sell their candidature to the people of Edo. Ize-Iyamu is held by many to have had an edge over his rival, Obaseki in the debate.

Read also: EFCC probe won’t distract my election –Ize-Iyamu

Already, there are insinuations within the ranks of PDP that the call by the security agencies may not be unconnected with the fear that the APC governorship candidate may lose the election if held on Saturday as scheduled.

At the time of filing this report, neither the presidency nor INEC were yet to formerly react to the purported advice from the country’s security apparatchik.

Below is the statement jointly signed by the DSS and the police.

Joint Press Release by the Nigeria Police/ Department of State Services

The Nigeria Police and Department of State Services wish to inform the general public that credible intelligence availed the agencies indicate plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between 12th and 13th September, 2016. Edo State, is amongst the States being earmarked for these planned attacks by the extremist elements.

The public would recall that similar threats were issued during the May Labour Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as the Ed-el-fitr holidays in July, 2016. However, the security agencies were able to decisively disrupt and thwart the insurgents’ plan. In the same vein, while election is important, the security agencies cannot allow the peace of the country to be disrupted, and we will continue to remain vigilant and ensure consolidation of the successes gained in the current counter-insurgency fight.

It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.

While the Police/DSS remain mindful of the inconveniences this request may cause the various political stakeholders, it is our strong resolve that security agencies need not be distracted from ensuring a peaceful and secured Nigeria now and always.

Members of the public are hereby assured that the security agencies will continue to remain focused and committed and are being enjoined to remain vigilant. The attention of the Security Agencies should be drawn to any observed unusual movements or actions by groups or individuals in their neighbourhoods.

DCP DON AWUNAH, fsi (Force Public Relations Officer) – Nigeria Police Force

GARBA ABDULLAHI – State Security Service

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