The Nigeria police and the State Security Services, SSS, say their call for the postponement of Saturday’s governorship election in Edo State is based on “credible intelligence” of a plot by “Insurgent and extremist elements” to disrupt the poll.
In a joint press statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the two agencies said the target of the planned attacks are vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between September 12 and 13.
Edo, the statement said, is among the states being targeted.
Garba Abdullahi signed the statement on behalf of the SSS, while the Force Public Relations Officer, Don Awunah, signed for the police.
“It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats,” the statement said.
“The public would recall that similar threats were issued during the May Labour Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as the Ed-el-fitr holidays in July, 2016. However, the security agencies were able to decisively disrupt and thwart the insurgents’ plan.
“While the Police/DSS remain mindful of the inconveniences this request may cause the various political stakeholders, it is our strong resolve that security agencies need not be distracted from ensuring a peaceful and secured Nigeria now and always.”
Meanwhile, INEC says it was yet to get a formal report from the security agencies.
“We haven’t gotten a formal notice on that yet, so we are just hearing it informally,” Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, INEC’s Director of Voters’ Education and Public Enlightenment, told PREMIUM TIMES on telephone from Benin, the capital of Edo.
“When we get a formal report, we will consult the stakeholders.”
The Peoples Democratic Party in the state sees the advice to postpone the election as a subtle plot by the ruling All Progressive Congress to “postpone the evil day”.
Ogbeide Ifaluyi-Isibor, the Coordinator, Dynamic PDP Vanguard in Edo, told PREMIUM TIMES that the PDP was ready for the election, and that APC was already afraid of losing.
“We are aware that the governor (Adams Oshiomhole) is afraid of his defeat, so he is pushing for a postponement,” Ifaluyi-Isibor said.