Armed policemen and soldiers, as well as other security agents, have started patrolling Akure and other major towns in Ondo State ahead of the Saturday governorship election
They started on Wednesday and have been moving around the town on Friday morning which is an apparent warning that they would deal with troublemakers.
The patrol and presence of heavily armed security agents in major areas of the state is obviously to send a warning to miscreants and their sponsors ahead of the poll holding all over the 18 local government areas of the state.
In the ‘Show of Force’ by the security agents, a long convoy of armoured personnel carriers and submachine guns mounted on patrol vans were seen moving on the streets of Akure at snail’s pace.
They took off from Igbatoro Road and moved towards Alagbaka, Ijapo, Oba Adesida Road and Oyemekun Road.
There have been clashes during electioneering and many believe that there would be violence on the poll day if the hoodlums, who are believed to have been engaged by some unscrupulous persons, were not arrested or chased away from the state.
Election observer groups have also warned that if the pre-election security threats are not neutralized before Saturday, there might be violence and this would cause low turnout of voters which would be an opportunity to disenfranchise many voters and eventually manipulate the poll.
The Chairman of the Board of Yiaga Africa, Dr Aisha Abdulahi, said the group had identified 11 local government areas as potential hotspots for violence ahead of the poll.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the election, Mr Leye Oyebade, had earlier said that security agencies would not allow anybody to disrupt the election or cause violence anywhere in the state.
The DIG had said, “The police and other security agents will not tolerate any act of lawlessness.
“It is our collective resolve to replicate the success recorded in the Edo State Governorship Election in Ondo State and even make it even better.
“The success of this election and indeed subsequent elections depends largely on the role of every one of us. We, therefore, appeal to everyone to play their part well so that we could record maximum success in the forthcoming governorship election and make our nation proud again.
“On our part, we will remain neutral, professional, be fair to everyone and respect the fundamental human rights of every citizen irrespective of their political affiliation. All the police officers deployed for this national assignment have been properly briefed and warned to adhere strictly to the explicit contents of the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on Election Duty.”