Address to stakeholders
Let me, on behalf of the Officers and Men of the Rivers State Police Command, welcome you to this auspicious event of the meeting of critical Stakeholders on the 2019 General Elections. I also wish to bring to you the warm greetings of the Inspector General of Police.
This strategic meeting could not have come at a better time than now. It is indeed the most appropriate time to assess, re-assess, evaluate, re-evaluate and deeply reflect on the past and present; and possibly offer potent answers that will address the misfortunes that have hitherto characterized our electoral processes in the state, which most often led to massive destruction of lives and property, among other vices. This indeed is the time to come together and change the narrative. Rivers State will outlive the election. We definitely do not need to lose anybody or group to clinch to power. This is the time to get it right and disappoint those who had never wished us well.
The Command under my watch will do everything humanly possible to remain neutral, apolitical and professional. We will provide level playing field for all the Political Parties in the State. This is my irrevocable pledge and I promise to ensure its full realization in the forthcoming Elections.
Obviously, the 2019 elections will no doubt be a litmus test that will subject our professionalism and commitment to duty to national and international scrutiny. The world is watching us and we promise not to let them down. A couple of days ago, I played host to the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, election observers from European Union and Civil Society Organizations, who all came to ascertain our level of preparedness for the elections and accordingly I assured them, in the strongest terms, that we were home and dry and that every arrangement had been put in place to ensure that the elections would be free, fair and credible.
We shall leave no stone unturned towards achieving this lofty objective.
Permit me at this juncture to salute the vision and mission of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu (NPM, mni) who assumed duty at the most critical time of the nation’s history and has emplaced strategic action plans that will not only get us out of the woods but reposition the Nigeria Police Force and make it the envy of all.
In the build-up to the elections, the Police High Command initiated training programme on capacity-building, on Democratic Policing and Election Security Management for our men which is still up and running.
At the Command level, I have put in place elaborate security measures aimed at entrenching and engendering a new dawn in electioneering in the State.
Recall that a week after my assumption of duty, I paid a courtesy visit to the traditional rulers where I pledged to do my utmost best to make the State safe and secure, whereupon, I was bestowed with the status of honourary indigene of the State by the royal fathers. As a son of the soil, therefore, I shall play roles that will not only see us as one but a more united and prosperous Rivers State.
Today’s meeting is another critical engagement in our collective resolve to develop an effective framework that will engender optimal performance during the national assignment. We must come together and reason together.
Let us therefore seize this moment to redesign the Rivers Electoral processes usually characterized by violence, to a more decent and acceptable process. The tasks rest on our shoulders:
As Security Agencies, we need to pledge now, to be professional.
As Party leaderships- we need to talk to our supporters.
As Youth leadership- we are in majority and therefore need to say enough is enough, we refuse to be a willing tool in the hands of our leaders.
As market Women and Traders Association, we need to talk to ourselves, to do the right thing and not to be cajoled into vote buying and selling.
As Royal fathers, we need to talk to our subjects.
As Political Parties, we need to play the game by the rules.
As Religious leaders, we need to talk to our flocks.
It is indeed a collective assignment and we all must be involved in the spade work of sanitizing the State, make it safe and secure a space for a seamless Electoral Process.
If we all agree to do these, of course there will not be room for electoral offences and when they occur, we shall spare no efforts in dealing the offenders regardless of his or her socio-economic status.
As the Co-Chairman of the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) comprising of all the Sister Security Agencies in the State, including the Coordinators of the National Youth Service Corps and National Orientation Agency, we have had robust and productive meetings over time and by the grace of Almighty God, we shall deliver on our mandate.
Once again, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, I want to thank you for attending today’s meeting and being part of the History that has been made today.
It is my belief that we have substantially achieved and learnt a lot from the interactions and as we go back, we shall put them into practical use.
Thanks and God bless you all.