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  • Jonathan promises elections without police in 2015

  • PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday promised to conduct the 2015 general elections without policemen and other security agents at polling centres.

    “God willing before 2015, we would conduct election without security carrying guns to follow us. We know we have disciplined people,” the President said at the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship campaign rally in Calabar, Cross River State.

    Barely three weeks ago, over 100,000 policemen and security agents were deployed in the President’s home state, Bayelsa, for the February 4 governorship poll won by the President’s candidate, Seriake Dickson.

    Also, last Saturday the police deployed 8,000 of their men in Sokoto State for the governorship election in the state. Characterised by ballot snatching, violence and other anomalies, success of elections in the country has always depended on alert security agents posted to polling booths.

    But Jonathan told the crowd of party faithful which included former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice- President Abubakar Atiku that he was committed to police-free elections during subsequent polls.

    He said, “At the national level, starting from my general election in April last year, we have been advocating ‘one man, one vote,’ ‘one woman, one vote,’ ‘one youth, one vote’ and we are succeeding; INEC is succeeding.

    “The next step of our campaign is that we want to make sure we conduct elections in Nigeria without the police. We want to conduct elections without security people carrying guns. We want a situation where Nigerians would go, queue up and vote, the votes are counted and nobody is cheated, so that at the end of the elections there would be no all kinds of litigation with all kinds of stories.

    “That is our next campaign and God willing before 2015, we would conduct elections without security carrying guns to follow us. We are disciplined people; we know we have disciplined people. We know Nigerians are disciplined people.”

    Among the crowd at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, venue of the rally, included Vice-President Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; and the Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje. The crowd also included Senate Leader, Chief Victor Ndoma-Egba; governors of Rivers, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Delta, Akwa-Ibom and Sokoto states, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; Mr. Seriake Dickson; Mr. Patrick Yakowa; Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; Mr. Godswill Akpabio and Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, respectively.

    Obasanjo had said he was ordered to be at the rally and described the PDP candidate in the February 25 poll, Governor Liyel Imoke, as a masquerade whose dance steps were a source of joy to his master. Obasanjo said, “I am here because I am ordered to be here. The man who ordered me is Senator Liyel Imoke and he is one of the few who can give such orders and you know why.

    “The second reason why I am here is that it is because we are in the part of the world where they say when your masquerade is dancing well you are a happy man. I want to say now that Imoke is my own masquerade and he is dancing well. If you have not seen it, you must have heard it. I have not only seen it, I have also heard and tested it.”