The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it may not participate in the March 9 governorship election in Jigawa State unless the state’s police commissioner, Bala Senchi, moves away from the state.
The party alleged rigging, vote buying and police intimidation in the state during the presidential and National Assembly elections.
Mustapha Lamido, a defeated senatorial candidate for the PDP, said this Wednesday night in an interview with Freedom Radio Dutse. Mr Lamido is a son of a former governor of the state, Sule Lamido.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won all the elections in the state on February 23, picking all the state’s seats in the National Assembly.
Mr Lamido was the Jigawa North Central senatorial candidate for the PDP, but lost the election to the APC candidate, Muhammad Sabo. Mr Sabo polled 224,543 votes to defeat Mr Lamido who scored 143,611 votes.
Mr Lamido said the APC’s sweep of the state happened because the police and other security agencies were partisan during the elections.
He said police officers escorted APC chieftains to polling units where it said they beat up and intimidated the opposition and engaged in vote buying.
“We will boycott the election if the police commissioner, Bala Senchi, remains in Jigawa because he has already been compromised,” Mr Lamido said.
“We don’t see the reason why the police commissioner is still in Jigawa despite his redeployment from the state,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported February 6 that the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, redeployed some senior police officers to zones, formations and commands.
The commissioner of police in Jigawa State, Mr Senchi, was affected by the exercise. His replacement in the state, Rabiu Ladodo, is yet to report at his new duty post, leading to the speculation of political interference.
Mr Lamido alleged the police arrested and intimidated many members of the the PDP in the opposition party’s strongholds.
“I personally stood up and defended many innocent voters arrested by the police until they were released,” he said.
“I called the police commissioner five times on different occasions, telling him that a particular person in a particular place snatched a ballot box but he was reluctant about the issue.
“The police and other security agencies colluded with the APC to defraud the people of Jigawa of their mandate through unjust arrest and detention of PDP stakeholders at various wards across the state,” Mr Lamido said.
When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Audu Jinjiri, declined to comment.