2023: ‘No Gov. has power to stop opponents from campaigning — IGP

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, has vowed to arrest and prosecute touts obstructing campaigns by opposition political parties as well as politicians indulging in vote-buying during the 2023 poll.

His position was also echoed by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, AbdulRasheed Bawa.

The IGP also directed Police Commissioners in the 36 States to dismantle campaign bottlenecks put in place by the State Governors to frustrate their opponents. He specifically noted that all Commissioners of Police must provide security for political parties embarking on electioneering in all the nooks and crannies of any State.

Speaking at the 2022 political parties’ summit, organised by the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, in Abuja, he said any Commissioner who fails to carry out his responsibility within the ambit of the law and decides to dance to the tunes of State governors would be removed.

Represented by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Operations, Ɗandaura Mustapha, the IGP said: “We have been receiving a lot of complaints from political parties. What is happening during this period is unfortunate. All the political parties are complaining. It is not only APC, PDP, or Labour Party, LP, or APGA. Unfortunately, some of our governors, as stated by the IG during a meeting with the political parties, are not helping matters. They have not laid a solid foundation, by giving other political parties access to campaign programmes. 

According to him, “Some try to manipulate the campaign. Some even sponsor touts to pursue the opposition, remove their billboards and posters and destroy their offices. Based on this, the Inspector-General of Police has categorically directed all the Commissioners of Police that on no account should any serving or sitting governor stop other political parties from conducting their campaigns in all the nook and crannies of any State”.

The EFCC chairman, who was represented by the Chief Superintendent in the Commission, Adukwu Michael, noted that the anti-graft agency had embarked on voters’ education and was working to ensure politicians do not spend beyond the stipulated amount.

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, said political parties and their candidates must adhere to democratic norms and “collectively intervene to achieve the kind of credible elections that will further deepen democracy”.

The Keynote Speaker, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, argued that political parties must adhere to the principles of social justice as a means of preventing crisis. “The rumblings in the PDP and the APC are surely due to perceived social injustice in the management of the affairs of the parties,” he argued.

According to him, the pain of the G-5 governors in the PDP is simply the sidelining of a section of the country in the sharing of party structures.

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