Following the sudden withdrawal of his security aides, including his Aid de Camp, ADC, by the police high command, Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano said yesterday that he was no longer comfortable standing for Saturday’s governorship poll in the state because his life was in danger.
Speaking during the stakeholders meeting organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Obiano said that as far as the poll was concerned, the withdrawal had exposed his life to eminent threat.
Describing the withdrawal as unacceptable and dangerous, the governor demanded for the return of his security details in order not to constitute further threats capable of overheating the polity, warning that he would fight back if nothing was done about it.
He said: “I want my security details returned immediately because I am going to start a fight from there. I am the governor of Anambra State and all the paraphernalia of my office must be there. This is unacceptable and a sign of what will happen. Those behind this will be disappointed because we are very ready for this election,.”
Obiano said he had wanted to speak with the Inspector General of Police, IG, Mr. Ibrahim Idris on the development, adding that he had to voice it out at the stakeholders meeting since he was not aware when the IGP would come.
However, the IGP who arrived for the meeting after the governor had left, said the police decided to withdraw the policemen attached to politicians because of previous experiences where such policemen worked for their bosses on election day.
The IGP said it was only the ADC that was withdrawn because his position was a political appointment, adding that the governor’s Chief Security Officer, CSO, was still intact. According to him, the ADC would return after the election, adding that the withdrawal became necessary because of previous experiences whereby some ADCs were found to be involved in election duties.
The IG said the 26000 policemen deployed to Anambra State for the election was to ensure the safety of lives and property of the people and not to intimidate them.
He also announced that movement would be restricted from the midnight before the election, explaining that movement would be restricted between local governments and borders of the state to ensure that there would be no interference from outside the state.
In addition, he said, all the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs, and mobile police commanders would be swapped to new environment so that they would give their best and ensure free and faair election.
He said: “We are to vote and live. We have done everything humanly possible to give Anambra new people as police officers from the divisional to the state commissioner level for the election. But if you see any police misbehaving, you are free to report to any police commander whose telephone numbers had been circulated.
“If you see any policeman involved in rigging, call the X-Squad and the supervisory unit and the complaint will get to the highest quarters. And any police officer who collect money from anybody during the election will face the music.”
He also said that the police would have a joint security meeting with the military as they (military) could support the police where necessary, even as he said that the military would not be involved in the election at all.
Also addressing the stakeholders, the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said no candidate would be accorded any special treatment regardless of his position.