In a bid to ensure a secure and smooth governorship election on November 11, 2023, in Imo State, a significant deployment of security personnel has been announced. Professor Sylvia Agu, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Imo State, revealed during a recent media roundtable that over 2,300 soldiers will be stationed in the state to maintain peace and safeguard the electoral process.
The announcement came during a media engagement organized by the International Press Centre (IPC) in partnership with the European Union (EU), held in Owerri. The REC applauded the commitment of Brigadier General Sani Suleiman, Commander of the 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze, who pledged to ensure ample security personnel are deployed to ensure the election proceeds without disruptions.
Acknowledging the security challenges faced during the previous elections, Professor Agu admitted to irregularities and insecurity during the last Presidential, National Assembly, and House of Assembly elections in the state. Despite the difficulties, she encouraged the Imo electorate to participate in the upcoming election without fear of intimidation from non-state actors.
The security situation has taken a toll on the staffing of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as Professor Agu disclosed that approximately 65 percent of her ad-hoc staff have withdrawn their services due to security concerns. This has prompted the commission to initiate a new recruitment process for officers ahead of the forthcoming election.
Addressing concerns of undue influence on past elections, the REC asserted that the previous election in the state was not swayed by any individual or group. She emphasized that the primary challenge faced by INEC was the issue of insecurity.
As the November 11, 2023, gubernatorial election in Imo State approaches, the concerted efforts of security agencies and electoral officials are poised to ensure a credible and secure electoral process for the people of Imo State.