The governor of Edo state and the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the September election, Godwin Obaseki has declared that he will accept defeat if only the election is free and fair.
Obaseki who expressed concerns about the security of voters across the state made the statement in an interview with journalists after meeting with the Inspector-General of Police in Abuja.
The purpose of his visit to the police headquarters was to brief the IGP on the security situation in the state and to appeal for deployment of police personnel to curb violence that may erupt during the elections.
Addressing the journalists, he said as a democrat, he would accept the outcome of a free contest, even as he boasted that he was sure of a convincing victory from all indications.
“The election is almost a no-contest because we cannot even find the opposition party in the field. So, the issue of me losing is very remote except something miraculous happens. If I lose in a fair contest as a democrat, I would accept but from what we know today, from all evidence available, Edo people have spoken and we just want an opportunity for them to express their views on that day.
“Our concern is that people wouldn’t be allowed to vote peacefully and express themselves the way they deserve”, he said.
The governor who said his visit to the IGP was out of concern for security, said they had finished an intensive campaign across the 192 wards of the state and the main issue that stood out in their sojourn was the concern about violence in the election.
Obaseki accompanied by some national Assembly members of the state, chairman of the PDP, and a former deputy governor of the state, said there was apprehension in the state following the spate of violence in the past week, adding that they had listed ten of such violence and submitted to the IGP for action.
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The governor said that 80 per cent of the attacks carried out against his supporters were in Edo North, lamented that they had reported the cases to the police but not one person had been arrested in connection to the incidents, thereby making some people feel there is no deterrent for such actions.
He therefore appealed to the IGP, that something be done to serve as deterrent to would-be trouble makers during the polls. He assured that as a party, they were committed to ensuring there is peace in the elections and urged the police to communicate to all actors that they are going to be impartial, fair and strict in ensuring peaceful elections.
The IGP, while welcoming the governor and his entourage to his office said the police would not tolerate violence from anyone, urged them to talk to their supporters not to engage in violence that may mar the elections or have themselves to blame.
On the reported violence submitted by the governor, the IGP, promised to refer the cases to the Force Criminal Investigation Department(FCID), for further investigation, even as he noted that he has been on top of the situation and arrested persons in the state for violence.
The IGP, while noting that there were individuals known for their acts of violence, said the police have identified such persons and would not allow them to carry out their plans.
He again assured that the police would remain professional in the elections and ensure a level playing field for everybody, saying that any police officer who goes against the directives would be identified and dealt with according to the law.
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