Osun poll: INEC set, police deploy 21,000 personnel

The Inspector-General of Police, Baba Alkali, on Tuesday, said about 21,000 operatives would be deployed for the Osun July 16 governorship election, just as the  Independent National Electoral Commission stated readiness to announce result in less than 12 hours after the poll.

The IGP disclosed this at the Election Stakeholders’ meeting held in Osogbo and attended by the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Osun Election, Johnson Kokumo, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, some of the candidates participating in the election, among others.

Baba Alkali, who warned that the police would not allow any person or group of persons, no matter how highly and lowly placed in the society to derail the electoral process, also stated that vote-buying or any form of inducement would not be allowed as they remained serious offences.

He also announced a ban on the selling of alcoholic beverages around the polling section, booth, or collation centres.

“We shall be deploying a total of 21,000 police personnel for the exercise of the Osun elections as part of the election security plan. All three senatorial districts, 332 wards, and polling units have been appropriately mapped out and put for the deployment of adequate personnel who will be on the ground to maintain peace and order before, during, and after the election. 

“The police will be deployed to protect the facilities of INEC and its personnel. This deployment is not meant to intimidate any law-abiding citizens rather it is to deter misguided elements that may threaten the conduct of the election and violate the electoral act. It also serves as a strong warning that government is determined to protect the citizens,” the IGP concluded.

Speaking earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun, Prof. Abdulganniy Raji, said to ensure that the Commission announced the results in less than 12 hours, all the stakeholders must collaborate and work towards a common goal of a free and conclusive poll.

According to him, all non-sensitive materials were already batched to Polling Unit Level and ready to be conveyed, while sensitive materials should arrive on Tuesday.

He said, “As we are all aware, the impressive outcome experienced in the Ekiti State election is a good reflection of the level of planning and preparation and we are super ready to beat Ekiti’s record in Osun State by announcing the result in less than 12hours. 

“To ensure this, we must all be on the same page and work towards a common goal of credible, fair, free and conclusive governorship election.”

The INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood, in his remarks, said as an indication of the intense national and international interest in the 2022 Osun governorship election, 87 observer groups comprising 79 domestic and eight international, deploying a total of 7,790 field observers have been accredited for the poll.

He further said, “the 2022 Osun State governorship election will also make history, being the first election in which INEC is deploying People With Disabilities as Ad hoc staff. 

“35 serving NYSC members with one form of disability or another have been identified, trained and engaged as Ad hoc staff at polling unit level.”

In his goodwill message, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi, called on the candidates and their supporters to embrace peace during and after the poll.