Anyone planning to disrupt Saturday’s governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States would need to use an atomic bomb if he is to succeed, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said this during an interview on Nigeria Info 95.1FM Abuja which was monitored by PUNCH.
Making a veiled reference to the February 2019 elections wherein the Returning Officer for the Imo West senatorial election, Prof Innocent Ibeawuchi, was forced to declare Governor Rochas Okorocha the winner under duress, Oyekanmi said such a thing could not happen again.
He said, “Going by past experiences, we know that collation centres are in danger. There is a security arrangement for that which is different from what was happening before.
“So, it is not just going to be easy to invade the collation centre and think you can kidnap a returning officer like some politicians had done in the past, put a gun to his head and say ‘declare me winner’.
“That is not going to happen in Bayelsa and Kogi because of the security arrangements we have made. You will probably need an atomic bomb to be able to do that this time.
“But that is not to say that some bad people will still not want to carry out nefarious activities but I will refer them to the IG’s statement that you may lose your life this time around if you try anything funny.”
He said INEC was willing to appeal the victory of Okorocha to the level of the Supreme Court.
Oyekanmi said in Bayelsa State which is in the Niger Delta, the Nigerian Navy will deploy gunboats along the coastal areas.
He noted that half of the communities in the state are virtually located on water and the movement of sensitive materials and officials would have to be done by water.
The INEC chairman’s spokesman, therefore, stated that the Nigerian Navy would also play an active role in the poll.
Oyekanmi said, “You know about half of the Bayelsa elections will be on water. So, we are involving the Nigerian Navy. We will have gunboats in front of the boats conveying personnel and materials and gunboats at the back.
“The navy is ready. In fact, we have had a lot of meetings, the navy has asked us a lot of questions, asking us how we want things and that has been provided and they are ready.”
The CPS said INEC and the security agencies involved in the election would surprise those planning to cause violence in the poll.
He said the Nigeria Police Force remains the lead security agency in the poll.