Off-cycle elections: IGP Kayode Egbetokun Deserves Commendation For Ensuring Smooth Polls
By Adewole Kehinde
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, truly deserves commendation for providing adequate support to the Nigeria Police Force in ensuring security for the conduct of off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
Unlike in the past, policemen were accused of supervising ballot snatching as well as providing cover for those engaged in illegal sharing of money on election day. This time around, the police personnel deployed for the election behaved professionally under the supervision of their zonal DIGs.
They are the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Department of Force Intelligence, DIG. Habu Sani, who was deployed to Kogi State; DIG Daniel Sokari-Pedro was in charge of the Department of Information and Communication Technology deployed to Bayelsa State and DIG. Frank Mba, DIG Department of Training and Development, was deployed to oversee elections in Imo State.
Aside from the deployment, in a bid to ensure smooth electioneering processes, the Inspector-General of Police ordered the distribution of an additional 220 operational vehicles, including water cannons, Armored Personnel Carriers, gunboats for riverine areas, helmets, bulletproof vests, tear gas canisters, etc., to the three affected states, which aided the intensified security arrangements for the elections and augmented the already deployed assets.
The police fulfilled its promises, which the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, made by remaining neutral in all the states where the election was conducted.
The police personnel deployed for the elections had ensured that the election recorded few security hitches, extolling the IGP for his support to deepen democracy in the country.
The off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states have shown that the Nigeria Police Force is fully committed to ensuring that future elections will be free, fair, secure, and credible.
IGP Kayode Egbetokun maintained professionalism by strategically deploying police personnel to the three states, providing security, and maintaining law and order throughout the electioneering process, following training on professionalism, neutrality, and best practices carried out for officers and men deployed for election duty.
Egbetokun created an environment where all citizens exercised their rights by voting without fear or intimidation.
The IGP’s stern warning to all security aides and escorts to desist from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centers during the election was strictly complied with, as only security personnel specifically assigned to election duties were seen within and around the designated election booths and centers.
Also of great emphasis was the establishment of dedicated emergency contact numbers that the public used in reaching out to the Joint Operation Room for the elections in each state. It was a huge success.
It will be recalled that Egbetokun emphasized the dedication of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly under his watch, to the principles of free, fair, secure, and credible elections, which were witnessed in the off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi State, respectively.
The off-cycle election has shown that the Nigeria Police Force is playing a pivotal role in safeguarding the democratic process and will uphold the integrity of future elections in Nigeria.
The most interesting aspect of it was that all state-established and owned security outfits and organizations, quasi-security units, and privately owned guard and security outfits stayed away from the election in compliance with the directive of the IGP.
Despite the attempt by some politicians to draw the police into what took place, I still give them credit for their neutrality; therefore, the IGP deserves commendation for his excellent outing.
Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846, e-mail: email@example.com