Ahead of the 2019 general elections,the Inspector General of Police(IGP) Ibrahim Idris has advised political actors and their supporters in the country to be mindful of their utterances in order not to hit up the polity.
The police boss stated this on Thursday while speaking at a one day security seminar in Oshogbo, Osun State capital.
The seminar,organized by the police authority with the theme ; 'Imperatives of Police Collaboration with Essential Stakeholders: Towards Secured,Free,Fair and Credible Elections in Nigeria' was chaired by Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, the Vice Chancellor,Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Ibrahim while lamenting the conducts of politicians in the country ahead of 2019 noted that they should desist from speeches and actions that could spark up violence and discredit the forthcoming elections.
"They should desist from arming of political thugs and making hate speeches before, during and after the elections which may likely precipate violence," he said.
According to the IGP, the successful provision of security during elections could only be effective with the support and cooperation of all stakeholders.
His words, " As the 2019 general election is fast approaching, it is Important we begin to hold regular consultations with our 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.
"It is in the realisation of this,that regular consultation like this becomes very important. It provides the needed opportunity for conversations around the election.Information gathered during these gatherings will complement our usual intelligence on elections security,areas likely to be violence prone may be revealed during discussions. The information gathered will certainly guide our deployment strategies to determine where to concentrate our resources and manpower."
He maintained that deployment of police for elections are basically on intelligence gathering,revealing that the 30,000 police officers deployed to Ekiti state during the last governorship elections was necessary.
Ibrahim regretted the violence that marred the recent by-election in Rivers state where suspected political thugs distrupted the election,adding that," if the Police had deployed 10,000 police officers to police the wards,we may have been accused of militarization of the election"
He assured that the forthcoming governorship election in Osun State and the 2019 general elections would be free of any violence,saying " we will continue to listen to reasonable criticisms as it will help us make amends where necessary but we will do whatever we can to guarantee violent free and credible elections in Nigeria."
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria,Mr. Stuart Symington explained that the US government would offer necessary supports for the country to have a successful elections next year.
The US envoy disclosed that the Osun election would be a pointer to what to expect in the 2019 general elections,appealing to all stakeholders to eshew violence before,during and after the election.
Mr. Symington said : "We are committed as a nation to a credible and violence-free elections in Nigeria,starting from the Osun governorship election come September 22.
"What happen in Osun election will have some effect in the country. I want to urge the politicians and their supporters to avoid any form of violence. All we want is peaceful elections."
On his part, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi commended the Inspector General of Police for organising the seminar which gives stakeholders the opportunity to discuss ways to ensure violence-free elections,urging them to replicate same by bringing together all political actors in the country.
The monarch said," It is the right of the people to elect their leaders but things should be done properly. The state and indeed the nation is greater than all of us and we must come together to live in peace with our neighbours.We don't want any violence.
Oba Adeyeye advised all candidates and aspirants to work together for the betterment of the state and the nation at large.
Also speaking,the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission,Prof Mahmood Yakubu promised that the commission would conduct free,fair and credible elections in September 22 in Osun state and the general elections.
Represented by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State,Mr Olusegun Agbaje, the INEC chairman who gave the figure of uncollected PVCs in Osun state at 507,493 encouraged people to collect their PVCs so as to vote for leaders they want.
The well attended seminar had in attendance the Governorship candidates of some of the parties participating in the Osun election,which include;Iyiola Omisore(SDP), Ademola Adeleke(PDP) and Gboyega Oyetola(APC).
Also at the event were traditionals rulers,civil society organisations and election observers