A FORMER Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has said that state governors often contribute to electoral violence in the country by arming unemployed youths with sophisticated guns.
Oshiomhole stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, October 4 while speaking at a citizens’ election dialogue organised by YIAGA Africa and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with Channels Television.
He noted that there was little or nothing any security official could do if mass electorates decided to cause violence during an election.
He called on political parties to prevail over their supporters by reminding them that elections were not a do-and-die affair.
The former APC national chairman said, “When I was a governor, and I mean this, you can ask former President Goodluck Jonathan, I did say at a meeting at the Villa that, sometimes, governors contribute to election violence because AK-47 is not as cheap as buying akara.
“And when you see many young men who are unemployed wielding AK-47s, who is providing them? So the political leadership has a responsibility, and we need to take that responsibility.
“If 500 voters choose to resort to violence, how many policemen do you want to deploy? Let us accept that as political parties, we agree that in the course of the campaigning, at every point, we must emphasise that this election is about freedom to choose, and what is more important is the process, not even the outcome.”
Noting that police sending two or 10 men to a location did not necessarily guarantee security, he added that free and fair elections did not solely rest with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
While commending the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to ensure free and credible polls next year, he called on him to provide enough logistics and support for security operatives covering election matters.
“Escorting the materials to make sure they’re not hijacked by hoodlums is a function of security, and the president has a duty to ensure that the security forces are not only briefed, it must also ensure they must not be partisan but must have the support and logistics they need to discharge their responsibilities,” he said.