In a startling deviation from anticipated bloodshed and casualties, the Imo State gubernatorial off-cycle elections remained remarkably peaceful, despite grave apprehensions surrounding potential election violence. Under the directive of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun, the coordinating Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Frank Mba spearheaded the security operations, confounding grim predictions of widespread violence and fatalities.
Amidst the security concerns in Imo, widespread speculation suggested electoral violence might disrupt the polls. In anticipation, private mortuaries reportedly readied for a surge in casualties. However, post-election, these forecasts were proven wrong. Imo recorded no electoral killings, and the anticipated violence from non-state actors failed to materialize. Despite opposition objections to the election outcome, stakeholders commended law enforcement for the absence of casualties among police, soldiers, civilians, or damage to INEC facilities.
The looming threats from proscribed groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) prompted security concerns. These groups instilled fear and threatened violence against security personnel and critical facilities, particularly INEC offices.
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) orchestrated a comprehensive security strategy involving inter-agency collaboration to ensure election integrity. The force conducted a thorough threat analysis, identified potential trouble spots, illegal arms proliferation, and engaged in community outreach.
The deployment of 25,000 police personnel, alongside military and other security agencies, was supported by technological innovations and pre-election training programs.
DIG Frank Mba’s hands-on approach, including personal land and aerial patrols, ensured effective supervision and coordination of security architecture. The police adopted a multifaceted approach involving stakeholder engagement, restriction of movement, and robust intelligence management to avert potential threats.
The resounding success of the elections, concluded with timely results and minimal disruptions, underscored the meticulous planning and vigilance of security agencies. Despite opposition objections, the most notable victory in Imo was the absence of anticipated bloodshed and violence, a sentiment echoed even by the opposition.
Source: Chiemelie Ezeobi