The Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, CP Awosola Awotinde on Friday assumed duties as the Commissioner of Police in Abia State, less than 24hrs to the March 9th Governorship election in the state.
The change in guard is coming about 24hrs after former CP Ene Okon flanked by DIG in-charge of Southeast for 2019 election and a former commissioner of Police in the state, Anthony Ogbizi had spoke on the strategies of the command towards a peaceful and free and fair Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the state.
The change in baton by the police hierarchy has generated mixed reactions among interest groups who alleged that it was a ploy to assist a particular political party rig Saturday’s elections.
“We were in this state when the former Commissioner of Police Joshiak Habila superintended elections in 2015. Abia was peaceful and nothing happened. The recent commissioner of police (Ene Okon) was in-charge of the Presidential and National Assembly elections on (Feb) 23rd and Abia was very peaceful. Was there any case of violence in Abia? Did people die? Was there any case of ballot snatching? The answer to all these is no. Abia was one of the peaceful states in the country where elections were held on February 23. Tell me the need for the redeployment 24hrs to the election?
“The point is that the other commissioner (Okon) refused to do their bidding. He was professional and made sure that despite the limited personnel available to the command, the state remained peaceful at the end of the Presidential and National Assembly election.
“What was the track record of the new man in the state that he is coming from? We know their plans and will make sure that Abians resisted attempts to foist anyone that is not the wish of the people,” a politician who pleaded not to be mentioned posited.
But when our reporter contacted the spokesman of Abia State Command on his mobile line, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna said that Okon only swapped with his Ebonyi State counterpart for election duties and would return to the state after the conduct of the elections.
Contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the redeployment is a ploy to favour a particular political party, Ogbonna debunked that and maintained that the swap would not in any way affect the strategies already put in place by the police and other security agencies to ensure there would be free, fair and credible elections in the state.
Meanwhile, Awotinde on resumption of duty in the state was said to have held closed door security meeting with heads of various sister security agencies at the police headquarters.
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Sources who were at the meeting disclosed that the meeting was for the CP to familiarize himself with the heads of sister agencies whom he solicited their cooperation ahead of Saturday’s election.