Wednesday, 31 October 2012

ALTUS POLICE STATION VISITORS' WEEK 2012 3RD - 9TH DECEMBER 2012.


Police Stations Visitors Week is a unique global event organized by Altus to assess the quality of services delivered in the participating police departments, to identify some of the best practices in use by police, to strengthen the accountability of police to the local citizens whom they serve and to promote human rights standards.

On 3-9 December 2012 Altus will organize Police Stations Visitors Week. Police stations around the world will receive hundreds of local citizens to assess the quality of services provided by police.

For more information contact psvw@cleen.org

Monday, 22 October 2012

Preliminary Statement by CLEEN Foundation on the Conduct of Security Officials during the Ondo State Gubernatorial Election held on Saturday, 20 October 2012


In line with its commitment to promoting effective and accountable policing of elections in Nigeria, the CLEEN Foundation, with support from DfID’s Justice for All (J4A) Programme, observed the conduct of security officials during the Ondo state gubernatorial election held on Saturday 20 October 2012. Before the election, CLEEN Foundation organized a number of activities in the state aimed at contributing to public safety and security during the election. First, it conducted a pre-election security threat assessment to examine and highlight the potential security risks, flashpoints and mitigating factors to those threats. The finding of this assessment was shared broadly with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, other security agencies and civil society groups. Second, it organized a one day training workshop on election security management for all the Divisional Police Officers and other senior officials under the Ondo state police command. This workshop provided a forum to share useful ideas on how to effectively police the election, deploy security personnel and ensure safety throughout the exercise. Third, it published abridged versions of the Police Service Commission’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Police Officers on Electoral Duty in a national daily and the two local newspapers in Ondo State with contact numbers for the call centre it had set up to collate complaints and incident reports from the public on the conduct of security officials during the election. Lastly, having obtained accreditation from INEC, it recruited, trained and deployed observers in all 18 local government areas (LGAs) in the state to observe the conduct of security operatives on election duty. This statement presents the preliminary findings of that observation exercise.

Background
The Ondo State gubernatorial election, though contested by candidates from 12 political parties, was largely a three horse race between Akeredolu Rotimi of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Olusegun Mimiko of Labour Party, the incumbent governor who is seeking re-election and Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Soldiers, State Security Service agents, police and other security officials were deployed in significant numbers across the state, perhaps, in response to perceived threats to peace during the election. The key threats include the activities of political gangs across the state, the presence of militants in the riverine area, the porosity of the border with neigbouring states, allegations of plans to rig the elections and the history of competitive elections and violence in the state.

Observations
1.       There was significant security presence across the state. Armed military personnel mounted stop and search units along major roads and though this was intimidating initially, it was perhaps helpful in deterring incidents of violence, movement of political thugs and other threats to peace and security as no major incident was recorded.
2.       Deployment of security personnel to polling stations was also well coordinated as most polling units had at least 2 security agents. However, the urban areas had more security presence at polling stations.  Security officials posted to polling station were unarmed. In most cases, they arrived early, escorted the INEC officials and materials to the various units, stayed for the duration of the election and escorted the INEC officials to collation centres after the election.
3.      Security officials at polling units conducted themselves professionally. They were approachable, impartial and alert. Most observers noted that the polling units had adequate security and in areas where security presence at the polling unit was inadequate, they called for back-up and this was promptly provided. There were a few incidents of use of force, but in most places where these were recorded, it also reportedly necessary and proportionate.
4.      The activities of some party loyalists, party agents and political thugs however posed some challenges during the election. For instance, accreditation started by 9am and was still on-going by past 1pm at Polling Unit 007, Ward 5, Owo LGA because area boys had caused disturbance and delays at the collection center. At Polling Unit 005, Ward 6, Akoko South West, party loyalists were distributing money and this almost caused chaos but for the intervention of security agents who arrested him and calmed the situation. At polling unit 4, Council Secretariat, Ilaje LGA, a party agent wore party uniform and others objected to this. He was forced to take it off by the security officials on duty at the Unit.
5.      The deployment of logistics still posed security challenges during the election. In a number of polling areas, INEC officials and voting materials arrived late. This was particularly prevalent in the polling units in ward 2, Akure South, where the voters had to wait until voting materials arrived at 2:30pm. This gave the security agents posted there a handful of issues to manage. In some other cases, for example in Polling unit 003, Ward 3, Ese Odo LGA, disagreements ensued when people could not find their names in the voters register and therefore could not be accredited to vote. Security agencies had to work hard to maintain order and peace.  
6.      Crowd control remains a challenge for security operatives. In several polling units, the number of registered voters was over one thousand (1,000) and where a significant number showed up for accreditation and voting, the security agents were simply overwhelmed. The ensuing chaos slowed down the accreditation process, resulted in pushing, and fighting in a few instances cases. In some of these places, calls had to be made for back up or intervention by armed officials to restore order. At Polling unit 003, Ojomo Ayeka, Okitipupa LGA, the 3 security operatives posted there could not manage the crowd until community elders and other security operatives intervened.

Recommendations
  1. INEC’s logistics deployment strategy requires urgent and immediate revision and should take advantage of the staggered elections to focus and better coordinate it’s resources to ensure that materials and persons arrive early at the various units.
  2. INEC should also undertake a complete review and harmonization of the voters register to reduce incidents of missing photos, names etc.
  3. The training and retraining and effectively deployment of INEC ad hoc staff and monitors should be given immediate attention.
  4. Security officials should be better trained in crowd control and should be better equipped to manage conflict situations. Synergy and coordination amongst them can also be improved upon.
  5. The heavy involvement of military personnel during elections remains a concern. Early detection of security threats helps in addressing them before the election, thus the heavy involvement of the military should be minimized as it usurps civil policing functions and undermines the capacity of the police to better secure elections.

We congratulate INEC, the Nigeria Police Force, other security agencies and the people of Ondo State for the peaceful conduct of the election. We also thank the Justice for All (J4A) programme of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its generous support towards the observation of this election.

The CLEEN Foundation is a non-governmental organization established in 1998 and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to promote public safety security and accessible justice. CLEEN Foundation is a member of several networks across the world and also has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

CIVIL SOCIETY PANEL ON POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA 2012



SUBMISSION OF REPORT OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY PANEL ON
POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA

            Your Excellency will recall that on February 17, 2012, you inaugurated a nine-person Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigeria Police Force chaired by Mr. Parry Osayande, Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police.  It had five Terms of Reference on which to advise your government on measures that can be taken to improve the performance of the Nigeria Police and restore public confidence in the institution.

            Coming against the background of three previous Presidential Committees on Police Reform established by your predecessors whose recommendations were neither made public nor seriously or scrupulously implemented, the response of civil society in Nigeria to Mr. Osayande’s Committee was expectedly mixed.  However, being of the view that the task of reforming the Nigeria Police Force is too important to be left to government alone, key non-governmental organisations working on police reform issues in Nigeria decided to engage the process in a creative and proactive way through the establishment of a parallel but complementary Civil Society Panel on Police Reform in Nigeria, using the same terms of reference drawn by your government.  The Panel operated under the auspices of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) with technical support and facilitation by the CLEEN Foundation.

            In order to carry out this assignment effectively, the Panel consulted widely with stakeholders in civil society, government, political parties, security agencies, women’s organisations, the media and the general public.  We interacted with senior and junior police officials including the Inspector General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar, and benefited from their wealth of experience in police and policing matters.  The Panel requested and received memoranda from the general public.  We also held public hearings in seven cities in each of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory, during which oral and written presentations were made by members of the public and other interested stakeholders.

            We have the honour to inform Your Excellency that the Panel has completed its work. Consequently, we hereby submit the Report of the Panel for the consideration of the Government.

            We hope that the recommendations of this Panel, which draws heavily from major voices in civil society, will complement those of Mr. Osayande’s Committee in guiding your Government in its efforts to reposition and transform the Nigeria Police into an effective and accountable public service institution.

            We seize this opportunity to express our appreciation to you Mr. President, for agreeing to receive our parallel but complementary report.  This is an indication of the willingness of your Government to welcome alternative views when responding to critical national challenges, and we cannot think of any issue more critical to the survival of our nation at this juncture in our history, than repositioning the Nigerian Police Force to effectively and efficiently discharge its functions in partnership with the communities it serves.

            Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of our highest esteem and respect.   



----------------------------
Mrs. Ayo M.O. Obe
Chair



---------------------------------                                           ---------------------------------
Dr. Smart Otu                                                             Dr. Abubakar Mu’azu
Member                                                                       Member



---------------------------------                                           ---------------------------------
Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma                              Ms. Ayisha Osori       
Member                                                                       Member                      



---------------------------------                                           ----------------------------
Mr. Sam Itodo                                                                        Chinedu Nwagu
Member                                                                       Secretary



---------------------------------
Mr. Innocent Chukwuma
Technical Adviser





Abbreviations And Acronyms

AIG                             Assistant Inspector General of Police
APER                          Annual Performance Evaluation Report
CDHR                         Committee for the Defence of Human Rights
CLEEN                       Centre for Law Enforcement Education
CIB                             Criminal Investigation Bureau
CID                             Criminal Investigation Department
CSO                            Civil Society Organisation
DIG                             Deputy Inspector General of Police
EFCC                          Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
FRSC                          Federal Road Safety Commission
ICPC                           Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission
IGP                             Inspector General of Police
MoPA                         Ministry of Police Affairs
MOPOL                      Mobile Police
NAPTIP                      National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons         
NDC                           National Defence College
NDLEA                      National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
NIPSS                         National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies
NNPF                          Northern Nigeria Police Force
NPF                             Nigeria Police Force
NSCDC                      National Security and Civil Defence Corps
NOPRIN                     Network on Police Reform in Nigeria
PCB                            Police Public Complaints Bureau
PCRC                          Police Community Relations Committee
PSC                             Police Service Commission
SCID                           State Criminal Investigation Department
SNPF                          Southern Nigeria Police Force
SSS                             State Security Service
UN                              United Nations



Acknowledgements

In the course of its work, the CSO Panel received valuable support, assistance and contributions in the form of ideas, funding, suggestions, written memoranda, oral submissions, and solidarity from individuals, organisations and institutions too numerous to list.  We gratefully acknowledge these contributions, which were made in the hope that the Nigeria Police Force will be reformed to better serve all resident in Nigeria irrespective of social status, religion, political affiliation, ethnicity, age or gender.  Having completed this assignment, the challenge before civil society groups in Nigeria now, is to ensure that this report and its recommendations are adopted and implemented by the government.













Summary Of Findings And Recommendations

1.1.1    Introduction
Official debates about police reform in Nigeria and committees established by successive governments to facilitate such discussions and recommendations of measures for implementation have mostly been dominated by people with a security background who view such assignments as their exclusive preserve.  As a result, their reports have often focussed on increasing policing capacity in the areas of personnel strength, materials for work and welfare; as though once these are right, the NPF will be super effective and efficient.  While not belittling the significant difference a properly resourced NPF can make in addressing the safety and security challenges currently confronting Nigeria, experience from other jurisdictions has shown that it requires more than this for the police to win the confidence of the people and be effective in carrying out their functions.[1]  Community support and participation are critical to improving police performance, and if the people are not consulted and their priorities factored into the reform process, their support for reform programs cannot be guaranteed.

1.1.2        It was with this in mind, that when the Federal Government inaugurated another Committee on reform of the NPF in February 2012 and appeared to be following the same procedure as in the past, civil society groups working on police reform in Nigeria felt they should do more than send another round of memoranda.  They decided to set up a parallel but complementary Civil Society Panel on Police Reform in Nigeria (CSO Panel).  Mrs Ayo Obe chaired the six-person Panel whose other members were Mrs Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, Mr. Sampson Itodo, Dr. Abubakar Mu’azu, Ms Ayisha Osori, and Dr. Smart Otu.  Innocent Chukwuma provided technical advice; Chinedu Nwagu served as the Secretary and Okechukwu Nwanguma served as the CSO liaison officer.

1.1.3        In its work the CSO Panel paid more attention to salient issues that may not necessarily require a great deal of money before they can be addressed, but are often ignored in the work of government committees on Police reform.  However, the CSO Panel recognizes the impact of material deficiencies on the effectiveness of the NPF and aligns with reports of government committees on such issues.

1.2.1    Methodology
The Panel used a variety of complementary methodological approaches in carrying out its functions. These were: review of extant literature, which helped it to properly situate its work and enrich its understanding of the issues at play; call for memoranda to enable members of the public who wanted to contribute to work of the Panel to send written presentations; organisation of public hearings in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital which provided an opportunity for members of the public to make presentations in person; bilateral interaction with key actors in the field; and a validation workshop where the key findings of the CSO Panel were presented to civil society representatives.  The effective combination of these approaches enhanced the Panel’s appreciation of the issues involved in its work and placed it in a privileged position to offer the recommendations contained in this report.

Summary of Findings and Recommendations
1.3.1    Factors Affecting Effective Performance by the NPF
The factors affecting police performance that were identified by the panel include inadequate articulation of the NPF’s mission, legal framework, specialization of functions, performance appraisal system, duplication of policing agencies, weak oversight agencies and corruption.

1.3.2    Mission of the Police
The Panel found the mission statement of the NPF as provided in Section 4 of the Police Act inadequate in capturing the expectation of the new kind of police Nigeria requires in the context of its disheartening experience of police inefficiency and brutality and hope for a democratic society of security and liberty.  In proposing a new mission statement for the NPF the CSO Panel is of the view that focus should be on modelling a new police service that works in partnership with the communities it serves.

1.3.3    Recommendations
·           The National Assembly should amend Section 4 of the Police Act to incorporate language that emphasizes that the Nigeria Police is a service organisation that respects human rights, works in partnership with the community and is impartial before the law in carrying out its functions of ensuring the security of persons and property, detecting, investigating and activating the prosecution of offences.
·           The Nigeria Police Force should embark on a strategic planning exercise with a view to articulating operational vision and mission statements consistent with the values of a civil agency and the protection of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Nigeria in discharging its functions.

1.3.4    Constitutional and Statutory Framework
The CSO Panel found the constitutional and statutory framework under which the NPF operates to be a significant challenge to the effective performance of its functions: Sections 214-216 create the NPF, while the Police Act provides for its organisation, discipline, powers and duties.  The Panel identified two issues in the legal framework of the NPF: lack of operational autonomy, which has led to politicization and lack of professionalism in the NPF, and an opaque leadership appointment procedure, which can rob the NPF of the services of its most competent officers at leadership levels.

1.3.5    Recommendations
·         Amend Section 215(3) of the Constitution and sections 9(4, 5) and 10(1, 2) of the Police Act to restrict the role of the President or Minister of Government acting on his behalf to issuing only lawful policy directives, not operational directives, to the NPF. The amendment should state clearly and unambiguously that operational control of the NPF and its department/units rests with the IGP.
·         Sections 215(1) and 216(2) of the Constitution should be amended as part of the present constitutional reform process to: 
o     Provide for a competitive and transparent process to be followed in the appointment of an IGP if the position becomes vacant, including an open application process, screening of applicants, Senate hearing and confirmation of the most competent person for the job;
o     Specify relevant competences and qualifications that must be met by anybody vying for the position of IGP and other senior command positions in the NPF, including academic qualifications and relevant professional and management experience;
o     Guarantee security of tenure for the IGP with one term limit of five years;
o     Stipulate processes that should be followed for an IGP to be removed from office, including a public hearing by the Senate.

1.3.6    Structure and Organisation of NPF
The Panel found the NPF structured in a way that over-centralises its operations.  Even though the NPF has a five-tier command structure (Headquarter, Zonal, State, Area and Divisional Commands), too many decisions begin and end on the desk of the IGP.  Similarly, although the NPF has seven Deputy Inspectors-General (DIGs) who function as the heads of departments at headquarters and should lighten the load on the IGP, the Panel found that apart from adding to the unwieldy nature of NPF structure, the DIGs have little real work to do.  Furthermore, despite an outward show of unity, the current DIG structure does not help stability in the NPF, as all the DIGs see themselves as IGPs in waiting and spend their time plotting for a change in the leadership of the NPF, since the IGP has no security of tenure.

1.3.7    Recommendations
·         The NPF structure should be decentralized and powers and resources devolved to Zonal, State, Area and Divisional Commands to enable them effectively respond to the priority safety and security needs of their jurisdictions.
·         The seven DIG structure should be abolished, and the IGP should have just one DIG who should serve as his second in command.
·         The headquarter departments should be headed by AIGs in the same way as Zonal Commands.

1.3.8    Lack of Specialization
The CSO Panel found that lack of specialization has robbed the NPF of the capacity to develop its personnel to become experts in different fields of policing, a gap which impacts its ability to solve complex crimes.  With the exception of a few specialists such as medical doctors and veterinarians, the CSO Panel found that upon enlistment, all officers are made to carry out all duties, irrespective of their areas of specialization, and are moved around at will from one duty post and function to another, without prior training or preparation.  The Panel observed that the lack of career trajectory in the NPF has turned most police officers in Nigeria into ‘jacks-of-all-trades’ who in the end, are not able to master any.

1.3.9    Recommendations
·         The ‘general duty policy’ should be abolished. Every police officer should be given a time line of five years to specialize after recruitment, be a promotable officer or go home.
·         Diverse professionals such as criminologists, psychologists, sociologists, lawyers, doctors, pathologists and others should be recruited as police officers and allowed to practice their professions within the police service, and be promotable in their areas of expertise as is done in services such as the military.

1.3.10  Duplication of Policing Agencies
The Panel found a government penchant for the creation of agencies (such as the EFCC, ICPC, FRSC, NAPTIP and NDLEA) that fragment and duplicate police functions, and are inimical to improving the effectiveness of NPF because they not only deprive the NPF of badly needed material resources, but also deplete its pool of human resources.  Some of these agencies, such as the EFCC, still draw their leadership and operational personnel from the NPF.

1.3.11  Recommendation
The government should establish an inter-agency committee for the harmonization of the functions of all agencies performing policing and internal security functions in Nigeria with a view to:
·         Determining those that should be merged with the NPF;
·         Delineating functions where merger is not a feasible option;
and more importantly;
·         Working out, from leadership to operational level, arrangements to coordinate activities that will ensure that resources are properly shared, and that inter-agency cooperation in planning and executing safety and security functions is enhanced.

1.3.12  Weak Oversight Agencies
The Panel found no justification for the existence of the Ministry of Police Affairs (MoPA) and the Police Service Commission (PSC) as separate bodies as presently structured, organized and managed.  The MoPA maintains a huge bureaucracy for the purpose of either duplicating functions already performed or statutorily assigned to the NPF or the Police Service Commission (PSC).  The PSC on its part has been dismissed as nothing more than “a dismal chronicle of rubber-stamping decisions taken by the police”.[2]  Participants at the public hearings also criticised the lack of response to (or even acknowledgement of) complaints about police misconduct sent to the PSC.  At the same time, concern was expressed about the unclear constitutional area in which not only agencies such as the EFCC, ICPC, FRSC, NAPTIP, NDLEA and NSCDC are operating, but the legal vacuum in which a variety of community-based security initiatives are operating, and their often shaky adherence to human rights and due process standards.

1.3.13  Recommendations
·         The Ministry of Police Affairs should be restructured and renamed Ministry of Public Safety and Security to coordinate the activities of government in the field of public security and discontinue the present practice of replicating the bureaucracies of NPF and PSC. It should also be charged with providing a regulatory framework for community initiatives on crime prevention and creating an incentive regime to ensure that they comply with the law and eschew human rights abuses in carrying out their functions in rural areas or inner city communities not often covered by police patrols.

·         The PSC should be strengthened and provided with adequate resources to establish its presence across the country, starting at the level of Nigeria’s geo-political zones, and expanding to states and local governments as funds and resources permit.

·         The PSC should establish a department responsible for investigation of public complaints against the police (particularly cases of corruption, rape, torture and extrajudicial killing) and discontinue sending such petitions back to the police for investigation.  

·         The process of appointing the chairperson and members of the PSC should be transparent and rigorous in order to ensure that only qualified persons are appointed to actualise its enormous potentials as a civilian oversight body on police in Nigeria.


1.3.14  Performance Appraisal System
The Panel found that the NPF does not take assessment of its officers’ performance seriously.  On paper, the appraisal system of the NPF looks impressive, as it covers critical issues such as discipline, knowledge of the job and environment, attitude to work and performance, relationship with colleagues and superiors and more importantly, relationship with members of the public.  However, the problem is in the application process, which is not prioritized, rigorously applied or transparent. In the words of a police officer, “APER (Annual Performance Evaluation Report) is there for the sake of being there. What the police do is eye service. Nobody actually looks at the APER.”

1.3.15  Recommendations
·         The IGP should set up a committee to review the performance appraisal system in the NPF with a view to proposing a new and functional system, which should then be implemented and stringently applied.  The committee should include independent experts in in the field of performance management.
·         A task-based system of appraisal which focuses on performance in given tasks, instead of the current blind filling of forms by superiors, should be adopted to create objective and transparent criteria for the assessment of police officers.
·         The APER template should be revised to provide for police officers being appraised to also score themselves on the issues on which their supervisors are appraising them.  The expected differential in scores will provide opportunity for the supervisors and subordinates to discuss the appraisal process and build confidence in it.

1.3.16  Ban on Police Unionism
Despite the widespread belief that it is illegal for police officers to form any kind of trade union or professional association, the Panel could not find any legislation that supports such a conclusion.  Rather, section 40 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of association and specifically provides that “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests”.  The Panel found the tendency of government to conflate the right to associate with the inevitability of strikes as not only restrictive, but also likely to guarantee a situation in which grievances are bottled up until they explode in a manner that is not only detrimental to effective performance of police duties but also may affect national security.


1.3.17  Recommendation
Having regard to the rights guaranteed by section 40 of the Constitution, the CSO Panel recommends that police officers should be encouraged and permitted to form a Police Association for the purpose of collective bargaining, but be barred from using the strike option in pressing their concerns or demands for better conditions of service.

1.3.18  Police Corruption
In spite of the efforts of the current IGP to deal with corruption in the NPF by dismantling road blocks and dismissing police officers caught in corrupt acts, the CSO Panel found that corruption is still the number one impediment to the effective performance of police functions in Nigeria and a cancer that has spread to every facet of the NPF.  The Panel recognised that corruption has spread throughout Nigerian society but rejected the suggestion that this in any way excuses or justifies corruption in the NPF.

1.3.19  Recommendations
The leadership of the NPF should:
·         Sustain the abolition of police roadblocks and checkpoints on the highways.
·         Create a functional and easy-to-use database of police officers in Nigeria to enhance personal performance monitoring and help expose erring officers to the public.
·         Resuscitate the police X-Squad in all police commands and formations across Nigeria, and provide a line budget for their work.
·         Work with civil society groups to introduce the use of new media technologies to map police corruption in Nigeria and deploy more officers from X-Squad to corruption hotspots as identified in the mapping using geographic positioning system (GPS) technology.

To see the full report please visit http://cleen.org/ or http://noprin.org/pub.html or  http://cleen.org/CSO%20Panel%20Final%20Report.pdf 

ONDO STATE: Election Security Threat Assessment


Introduction

As Ondo State prepares for its 20 October gubernatorial election, emerging signs indicate that not only are the stakes very high, but also that the major political parties are strategizing to outdo one another. The attendant political tension in the state, as evidenced by pockets of violence in parts of the state as well as the allegation of the abuse of power of incumbency, especially with regard to assess to state resources such as mass media, has serious implications not only for the security of the election, but the overall effectiveness of its administration, credibility and legitimacy. This edition of CLEEN Foundation’s Election Security Brief (ESB) examines the potential security risks, flashpoints and mitigating factors in the Ondo gubernatorial election.

Brief History of Ondo State

Ondo state, popularly referred to as the “Sunshine State”, was created from the defunct Western State on 3rd February, 1976.  It covers a land area of 14,793 square kilometers with its administrative capital at Akure. The 2006 census puts the population of the state at 3,441,024 comprising 1,761,263 males and 1,679,761 females. Ondo State has a total of 1,646,666 registered voters for the 20 October gubernatorial election in the state.

Located in the southwestern zone of Nigeria, the state is bounded in the north by Ekiti and Kogi States, in the east by Edo State; in the west by Osun and Ogun states and in the south by the Atlantic Ocean. Ondo State is peopled predominantly by Yorubas who speak various dialects of the Yoruba language such as the Akoko, Akure, Apoi, Idanre, Ijaw, Ikale, Ilaje, Ondo and the Owo. The state has three Senatorial Districts; Nine Federal House of Representative seats, 26 State House of Assembly Seat and 18 Local Government Areas. The three Senatorial Districts are Ondo North made up of Akoko North East, Akoko North West, Akoko South East, Akoko South West, Owola and Ose Local Government Areas; Ondo Central consisting of Akure South, Akure North; Ifedore/Igaraoke, Ondo West and Ondo East; and Ondo South, which consists of Odigbo, Irele, Ilaje, Ese Odo, Okitipupa and Ile Oluji/Oke Igbo LGAs. The distribution of LGAs according to Senatorial District is shown in the table below:

The local government areas are grouped into three senatorial districts:
S/N
Senatorial District
Local government Areas in each district
1.
Ondo North Senatorial District
Akoko North East, Akoko North West, Akoko South East, Akoko South West, Owola and Ose
2.
Ondo Central Senatorial District
Akure South, Akure North; Ifedore/Igaraoke, Ondo West and Ondo East
3.
Ondo South Senatorial District
Odigbo, Irele, Ilaje, Ese Odo, Okitipupa and Ile Oluji/Oke Igbo



Economy of Ondo State
The economy of Ondo state is basically agrarian with strong bias in farming, fishing, lumbering and trading. The state is reputed for large scale production of cocoa, palm produce and rubber.  Other crops like maize, yam and cassava are also produced in large quantities. Sixty-five percent of the state labour force is in the agriculture sub-sector.  The state is also blessed with very rich forest resources where some of the most exotic timber in Nigeria abounds. The State is equally blessed with extensive deposits of crude oil, bitumen, glass sand, kaolin, granites and limestone. Therefore, the state has great potentials for rapid industrial growth in view of its raw materials base. The tourism potentials of the state is also high as its historical sites, long coastline, lakes, forest and cultural events can be developed for tourism.  However, these very huge investment potentials in the state remain largely untapped over the years due to a combination of technical and administrative reasons.

Politics in Ondo State 
As part of the defunct Western region, what is today referred to as Ondo state could be said to have a deep political history that dates back to the anti-colonial struggles under the influence of the Action Group (AG). It is, therefore, hardly surprising to note that the politics of the state since independence has manifested progressive tendencies associated with the AG, which held sway in the region in the first republic. 

During the second republic (1979-1983), by which time the state has been created, the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), AG’s successor in the South West, continued to dominate the politics of the state. During the period, the late Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin of the UPN won the governorship election of 1979. However, by the second election of 1983, Akinwole Michael Omoboriowo, Ajasin’s deputy from 1979-1983, decamped to the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the ruling party at the centre, to contest the governorship race with Ajasin. As it turned out, Omoboriowo was officially declared winner of the governorship election by the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO). The declaration heralded an unprecedented level of post-election violence across the state, popularly referred to as operation wet e, during which many lives were lost and properties worth several billions of Naira destroyed. The state was, as a source puts it, ‘the house of war’ during the period. Ajasin of the UPN eventually reclaimed its mandate and Omoboriowo fled the state.

During the short-lived third republic (1992-1993), Chief Bamidele Olumilua of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won the governorship election. His reign was, however, cut short with the abortion of the republic via the annulment of 12 June 1999 presidential election by the Babangida regime. As the country returned to democracy in 1999, following years of military autocracy, Chief Adebayo Adefarati of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) was elected Governor of the state. Adefarati, however, lost in his re-election bid in 2003 when Dr Olusegun Agagu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was elected the governor of the state. Agagu, who was earlier declared to have won his reelection bid in 2007, eventually lost to the incumbent governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party (LP), who happened to be a member of his inner cabinet, after protracted legal battles over the winner of the election.

The race for the governorship seat in the 20 October, 2012 election is being keenly contested among there major parties, namely the LP, ACN and PDP. The spate of decamping, especially from the LP to other parties, has added more intensity to the race. The fact that no governor/party had been able to do two terms in the state under the fourth republic represents another dimension to the contest. Whether history will repeat itself or not will be tested by the outcome of the forthcoming governorship election.

Parties and Candidates in the Gubernatorial Election 
The race for the Alagbaka Government house is a keen contest with twelve political parties fielding candidates. The parties and candidates are:


S/N
Political Party
Candidate
1.
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
Rotimi Akeredolu  
2.
Allied Congress Party (ACP)
Adept Taye
3.
All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP)
Adeyemi Bolarinwa
4.
Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP)
Ayodele Olusegun
5.
Change Advocacy Party (CAP)
Omoyele Olorunwa
6.
Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)
Olusoji Ehinlanwo
7.
Labour Party (LP)
Olusegun Mimiko
8.
National Conscience Party (NCP)
Oladipo Lawrence
9.
National Solidarity Democratic Party (NSDP)
Abikanlu Olatunji
10.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Olusola Oke
11.
People for Democratic Change (PDC)
Victor Adetusin
12.
Progressive People Alliance (PPA)
Omoregha Olatunji

However, the contest for the governorship race seems to be among three main contenders, namely the ACN, LP and PDP.

ACN Candidate: Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN 
Oluwarotimi Akeredolu served as Attorney General of Ondo State from 1997-1999 and was made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in1998. As an activist, he served the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at various levels starting as the Secretary General of the Ibadan branch in 1985 and has been a member of the National Executive Council of the Association since then. He served as the Publicity Secretary during the regime of the late Alao Aka Bashorun (1988-1989). He was also a member of Legal Aid Council of Nigeria from 1989 to 1991 and became its Chairman in 2005. He was a member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies between 2008 and 2010, a member of Council of Legal Education, a member of Council, International Bar Association and Pan African Lawyers Union during the same period. He served as president of the NBA between 2008 and 2010. He currently serves as NBA representative in the National Judicial Council (NJC).

In his electioneering campaigns, Akeredolu has emphasized the abuse and mismanagement of state resources by the incumbent government and promised to redress such if elected. His intimidating legal credentials and vision for the state notwithstanding, many are of the view that his greatest undoing was that he did not have sufficient political experience in competitive politics vis-a-vis his main challengers. Many also think that he has limited pool of resources, especially financial, from which to draw for the project. However, the huge amount of support from other ACN states has been seen as a viable source of strength for Akeredolu.

LP Candidate: Olusegun Mimiko
Olusegun Mimiko, the incumbent governor of the state, is seeking re-election, a feat that has not been accomplished in the state since 1999. A medical doctor by training, he was involved in politics during the military period and in 1992, was made the State Commissioner for Health, a position he again occupied when the military left governance in 1999. He resigned from the government of Chief Adebayo Adefarati when he was schemed out of the party governorship primaries to pitch his tent with the PDP under which he was made the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in 2003. 

A vacancy in the slot of Ondo in the Federal Executive Council saw him being appointed as Minister for Housing and Urban Development in 2005, a position he held till the end of 2006 when he again, resigned from government and the PDP to float the LP under which he contested and won the April 14, 2007 governorship election. He was, however, not declared winner until after 22 months of legal tussle to reclaim the 2007 mandate from Dr Olusegun Agagu of the PDP.

Mimiko prides himself as one who has delivered on his promise in moving Ondo state to the next level. As such, he has always emphasized the fact that in the three and half years of his leadership, he worked for the people with renewed vigour towards a better Ondo. He pledged to consolidate on his administration's seven-plan agenda.  While many believe that the power of incumbency may work in his favor, some others feel it is historical since 1999 for any governor to do a second term in the state Yet, the number of high-profile defections from the LP party has been seen as a major challenge to his re-election. Above all, the LP in the state seems isolated as it has no recognizable presence in any other state in the south west, and indeed the entire federation. Many see this as a big minus.

PDP Candidate: Olusola Oke 
Olusola Oke is a lawyer and ventured into politics, initially as a member of the Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue in 1991 before he got elected into the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly as a representative of Ilaje/Ese-Odo Constituency in 1992 on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

At the return of democracy in 1999, he became a member of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) representing Ondo State. When the tenure of the board expired, Oke became the Chairman of the Ondo State Oil-Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), and in the 2003 general elections, he was denied the seat of Ondo South Senatorial District in controversial circumstances after getting his party's (PDP) ticket and announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the election. Oke was a member of the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) in 2005 and had served as Chairman of the Boards of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida and the Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Kaduna as well as a member of the Technical Committee of the Federal Government on Niger Delta. He is the immediate past National Legal Adviser of the PDP.

Many think his membership of the PDP, which controls the federal government, remains his strongest strength. This endows him with political structures spread across the state and financial resources to prosecute the governorship race. Besides, his political experience over the years is seen as an asset to could boost his chances. He will have to contend with the weakness of the PDP in the south west.

Synthesis of security threats 
The following are the key threats to security in the 20 October Ondo governorship election: 
The state has a history of electoral violence, most notably the 1983 post-election violence -the Adekunle Ajasin/Omoboriowo saga- which a public commentator described as the ‘house of war’;
Pre-election violence: Electioneering campaigns have been characterized by various forms of violence, most notably killing and sporadic gunshots. These have manifested in places such as Akure, Owo, Akungba, Iwaro Oka Akoko, among others.
The activities of various violent political gangs across the state, most notably the dreaded Ade Basket Boys with stronghold in Akure and subsidiaries across the state and Orita Fogo Boys predominantly in the Akungba axis, constitute serious security threats;
Presence of militants in the Riverine (Ori Omi) areas of the state, who have been engaged in the resource struggle of the Niger Delta can be exploited by desperate politicians who want to capture power at all costs;
Allegations of exclusion/marginalization from government patronage by some groups in the state, especially from the Akungba axis, also raises cause for concern;
Allegations of exclusion/marginalization of opposition parties from the use of state resources, particularly the mass media and Akure City Hall, is a potential source of violence;
The fact that Ondo state is the only state of the South West not under the control of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), coupled with the seeming determination of the ACN to capture the state, heightens security concerns in the election. The LP campaign that the ACN has an imperial/colonial agenda to subjugate the state to the external control of Lagos state can inflame anger and violence;
There also exists the fear of interference ‘from above’ through the use of federal might in favour of the PDP, who many believe is desperate to regain the office it lost in 2003;
The relatively high level of youth unemployment and poverty in the state also constitute security risk; 
The relative porosity of borders, especially with Edo state, may provide avenues for the importation of political thugs from neighbouring states.

Potential Flash Points
While the foregoing security threats apply to the entire state, the probability of degenerating into violence is much more pronounced in some areas than others. This study identifies the most violence-prone areas in the 2012 gubernatorial election as follows:

Akure: It is not just the state capital, but also has the highest number of registered voters (Akure North has 54,477 while Akure South has 252,771). All parties will strive hard to get their own share of the votes. Besides, it falls within the Senatorial District of the incumbent governor, who has allegedly empowered thugs rooted in the city especially the Ade Basket Boys;

Owo: Not only does it have one of the highest number of registered voters in the state (124,093) but also the country home of Rotimi Akeredolu, the ACN gubernatorial candidate. The strategic importance of Owo to the election was further underscored by the fact that Governor Olusegun Mimiko flagged off his campaign in the city, during which some pockets of violence reportedly occurred;

Riverine Area (Ori Omi): Not only the country home of Olusola Oke, the PDP candidate, but also the maternal home of Rotimi Akeredolu, as well as the country home of his running mate, Dr Akintelure, who is from Egotako. Besides, a culture of militancy has been established over the Niger delta struggle. Yet, the area reportedly habours some bitterness over the alleged neglect of the state University at Okitipupa by the Mimiko administration. Worse still, administration of election in the area may be confronted by some logistic challenges, most notably transportation;

Akoko Region: The incumbent Deputy Governor is from Supare and may want to deliver at all costs. The defection of Senator Boroface from the LP to the ACN in Oka Akoko, together with the cry of marginalization in Akungba, remains crucial political issues. 

Threats mitigation factors
The following are observed mitigation factors that may dilute the potency of the threats analysed above:
The emerging signs have pointed to the possibility of election-day and post-election violence. Such early warning signs allow for proactive responses by election administrators, including INEC, security agencies, civil society (election observers) in dealing with such security threats;
The oft-repeated assurances of the federal government that it would not interfere in the election, as well as the assurances by INEC to be neutral and transparent in conducting free and fair election may help calm frayed nerves;
Being the only election for the day, there will be sufficient human resources for all associated agencies, namely INEC, security agencies and election monitors to ensure free conduct of the election;
The performance of INEC in the Edo case, despite accusations and counter-accusations, as well as some lapses, offers some assurances that INEC will do the right thing;
The ongoing sensitization of the populace by civil society organizations on the need to eschew violence during and after the election, can help mitigate violence;
The destructive legacies of the 1983 post-election violence remain in the collective sub-consciousness of many in the state. That may help reduce the proclivity to violence; and
Sensitization and training of security officers on their roles during election remains crucial to the security of the election.

Conclusion and Recommendations 
As this security threat assessment reveals, the potential for violence during the 20 October gubernatorial election in Ondo state is high. The signs are already there for all those who care to see as evidenced by cases of pre-election violence across several parts of the state. In other to mitigate these threats, the following recommendations are considered imperative:

There is need for all institutions connected with the administration of the election to embark on confidence building with all political stakeholders in the election, most notably the ruling and opposition parties, civil society organizations and the people at large. In particular, INEC and security agencies should meet periodically with these actors to assure them of their neutrality, impartiality, willingness and ability to act in a way that will ensure free, fair and credible election;

There is need for timely distribution of election materials and personnel to ensure timely commencement of voting across the state. This is, however, much more crucial for the riverine areas where the challenges of transportation seem to be more entrenched;

Notable potential flash points during the election should be given more security protection, together with more election observers, in such a way that no ballot station will be left uncovered;

Activities of notable political thugs/gangs such as the Ade Basket Boys and the Orita Fogo Boys should be curtailed;

There is need for demilitarization of the mind through social mobilization of the people on the need to shun violence during and after the election. This is a task for political parties, INEC, civil society organizations, mass media and the generality of the people;

All ad hoc election administrators should be adequately trained and monitored to ensure compliance with established rules and procedures;

All political parties should be persuaded to sign a peace memorandum, stating their commitment to eschew violence and work peacefully during and after the election; and  

It is time to ensure that election offenders are timely prosecuted and punished accordingly.


For more details please visit http://cleen.org/securitybrief.html

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