Anambra Guber: We’re ready, Police, INEC declare

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IN SPITE of security challenges, the Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, declared their readiness for November 6, 2021, Anambra State Governorship election, with the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba saying that the Police will deploy 34,587 officers, special forces and three helicopters for the poll.

The assurance from the electoral umpire and the police came as the Supreme Court cleared the coast for former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, to contest the election as the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.

The apex court verdict threw supporters of APGA into celebration, across the country, yesterday. Police to deploy 34, 587 officers, special forces, 3 helicopters

Towards ensuring a peaceful, free, and fair conduct of elections in Anambra State, IGP Usman Alkali Baba said 34, 587 police personnel, three helicopters, and Special Forces will be deployed to the state.

Speaking at a meeting with Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Command Commissioners of Police in Abuja, he noted that based on an Election Security Threat Analysis conducted by the Force Intelligence Bureau, Force headquarters has developed a “Strategic Election Security Operation Order which will involve the mobilization and deployment of a total of 34,587 police personnel.”

He continued: “This will comprise of conventional police officers, Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Forces personnel, Explosives Ordinance Unit (EOD), Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB), INTERPOL, Special Protection Unit (SPU) as well as Police Medical Teams.

We will also be deploying three (3) Police helicopters for aerial surveillance as well as detachments of Marine Police Operatives, specially trained Force Animals, and our unique Technical Intelligence capability towards guaranteeing a safe, secure, and credible electoral process in the State.

Drawing on our previous election security operations, we have also emplaced adequate forward and reverse logistics arrangements for a seamless police operation and have also made requisite arrangements to address the welfare needs of all personnel being deployed for the operation.

In assuring law-abiding citizens and stakeholders of their safety during the election, let me warn subversive elements who are bent on employing violence to attempt to threaten our democratic values, as well as any political actors who may want to adopt undemocratic and illegal means to achieve their aspirations to bury such thoughts now or be prepared to face the consequences, as they will be identified, isolated and made to face the wrath of the law no matter how highly or lowly placed they may be,” he said.

On its part, the INEC said it is ready to conduct a near-perfect governorship election in Anambra.

Professor Yakubu Mahmood, Chairman of INEC, said this at a Workshop for Journalists on Election Processes and Procedures in Awka, on Thursday.

Mahmood, who was represented by Mr. Victor Aluko, Director of Publicity in the Commission said the November 6 election would enjoy the deployment of modern technology which would make it more improved than all previous exercises.

He said the entire process from registration to transmission of results would be fully automated including the use of bimodal, which took care of unimodal identification processes which only verified voters by fingerprints.

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The chairman said there were a total of 2,525,471 registered voters in the state after an additional 77,471 generated during the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration exercise.

He urged journalists to help the Commission disseminate the right information as they were crucial to the success of the election process, noting that sending the wrong information could inflame society.

On his part, Mr. Chuwkuemeka Nnaji, Head of Department, ICT, INEC Awka Office said the Commission improved on its system using an indigenous team of engineers.

Nnaji said the process was such that human interference was greatly reduced and that data uploaded online would be highly secured from cyber attacks and hackers.

He said the prospective voter would be identified by various fractures including their faces and that nobody would be able to vote twice as the registration had been cleaned up.

According to him, the Commission’s desire of having credible elections is sacrosanct, technology deployment has proven to be an effective tool in achieving the set objectives.

“They need to have one-person-one-vote is what has necessitated the deployment of a Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS);

The need to ensure the credibility and openness of the Commission has necessitated the deployment of the IReV Portal, so we ask for the cooperation of all to enable the Commission to meet its set objectives,” he said.

In his opening remark, Dr. Nwachukwu Orji, Resident Electoral Commissioner in Anambra said the workshop was to update journalists with the progress made ahead of the election.

Orji, who was represented by Mr. Samuel Nimem, Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Awka, urged the media to report facts and not engage in interpreting what they did not understand.

He said the Commission was available to journalists who wished to get clarifications while urging them to endeavor to get accreditation for coverage of the election proper.

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