By Eric Elezuo
A group, Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER), has called on Edo State politicians to eschew violence as the state prepares for the governorship election coming up on Saturday, September 19, 2020.
The group, which has mobilised about 50 trained and duly accredited observers for the election, made the call through a press statement signed by its coordinator, Tope Shaaba and Spokesperson, Comrade Ayodele Adewale.
CODER, in the statement, acknowledged that there has been unnecessary tension in the state, generated by the election, especially by the two major parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) whose flag bearers are the incumbent governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu respectively, and cautioned against making the pre-election predictions of some groups from coming to past.
“The pre-election analysis undertaken by YIAGA Africa, NOI polls and other CSO groups paints a bleak picture of the election should indicators of violence surveyed remain unaddressed. Physical violence at campaign rallies, vandalism or destruction of property associated with candidates, stock piling of small arms and light weapons and recruitment of armed thugs or militia groups are some of the indicators identified in the pre-election survey,” it said.
While appealing to the feuding parties to sheath their swords for peace sake, the group acknowledged the genuine efforts made by the Oba of Benin to broker peace as well as the position taken by the United States of America and the United Kingdom to checkmate the trend of violence.
“The timely peace intervention of the Oba of Benin on September 3rd, the peace accord signing by candidates of political parties on Tuesday September 14 and the position of the international community, especially the United States and United Kingdom’s Embassies are efforts to checkmate the trend of violence. CODER therefore, appeals to all political actors in Edo, especially the two dominant political parties to let peace and allow Edo people to speak through the ballot.”
CODER therefore, call on security agencies as mobilised, to ensure that peace is maintained through neutrality, and punish offenders irrespective of where they belong. It also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide a level playing for all contestants.
“The Nigerian Police Force and other security personnel on election duty must maintain their neutrality and be ready to arrest anyone that commits electoral offense. INEC on the other hand must be seen to play its role as an unbiased umpire in the entire process to increase people’s confidence and trust in both the electoral process and the electoral management body,” the statement noted.
CODER is a not for profit civil society organisation, founded by Chief Ayo Opadokun.
“We note that Edo gubernatorial off-cycle election and that of Ondo state coming up on October 10 are litmus tests for the general elections in 2023, and as such, all electoral stakeholders must ensure these elections are better and fairer than previous ones,” the statement concluded.
Akwa Ibom PDP Chairman, Udo Ekpenyong, Dies
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, Udo Ekpenyong, is dead.
Mr Ekpenyong died on Monday in Uyo, an official of the Akwa Ibom government who did not want his name mentioned, told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday morning.
The official said the chairman died of COVID-19.
Late Mr Ekpenyong, before his election as the state PDP chairman last year was the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state. He was known to be a strong ally of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Akwa Ibom State lost two other prominent figures recently, a former Chief of Air Staff, Nsikak Edouk who died of renal failure, and a former military governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga who died of COVID-19.
Lagos Police Hail Igboelerin Youths for Resisting Robbery Attack
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has commended youths of Igboelerin community for their bravery in resisting an arms robbery attack and recovering dangerous weapons in the bargain.
According to a statement signed by the command’s PPRO, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the criminals invaded the community at about 11:30pm on Sunday, but were dislodged by the daring youths.
“On 17th January 2021, at about 11.30pm, the youths of Igboelerin community in Lagos State resisted a robbery attack on the community when they dislodged some suspected armed robbers that wanted to rob the community.
“The suspected armed robbers came on 2 unregistered bikes with the intention of attacking their targets before they were repelled by the youths who have been involved in the community policing strategies of the command. One unregistered operational bike and one locally made pistol with a life cartridge were recovered from them.
“The Commissioner of Police Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commending the youths of the area, has ordered for the manhunt and arrest of the fleeing armed robbers. He encouraged Lagosians to embrace the idea of community-based policing which has paid off in many areas of the state,” the statement read.
Policeman Prostrates, Begs After Threatening Panel Member in Ogun
There was disquiet at the Ogun State Judicial Panel of Investigation Against Police Brutality when a policeman, Sergeant Adeleke Olalekan, allegedly threatened members of the panel.
The panel, which sat at the Magistrate Court 1, Isabo, Abeokuta, on Monday, was cross-examining the Officer in-Charge of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, CSP Gbenga Megbope.
Olalekan had accompanied his boss, Megbope, who was a respondent in a case of brutality against some people in the state.
Olalekan was, however, allegedly caught pointing at the panel members in a manner suggestive of threats.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Solomon Olugbemi, called him out and booked him for punishment as stipulated under the commission of inquiry law.
While reading out the law against the policeman’s action, the chairman said, “Any act of disrespect, insult or threat to the commissioners or any panel members while sitting in commission or any act of disrespect, insult or threat to a commissioner or panel members at any other time or place on account of his proceedings in his capacity as a commissioner or panel member shall be deemed to be an act of contempt within the meaning of this law under Section 16 of the same law.”
Olugbemi noted that the sergeant ought to be recommended for trial at a magistrate’s court.
But Olalekan, while being questioned, prostrated and pleaded for forgiveness.
The panel pardoned him, while the chairman warned against disrespect for the panel.