From Molly Kilete and Jude Idu, Abuja
The National Security Adviser(NSA), Major General Babagaba Monguno, has again assured that the 2023, general elections in the country would hold.
The assurance is coming amidst speculations over weather or not the elections would hold amidst the rising insecurity ravaging the country.
But the NSA, said the insecurity not withstanding, the election must hold as president Muhammed Buhari, is bent on providing a secured environment for the elections to hold.
Mungono, spoke at the opening of the workshop on election security management organized by the Nigerian police force.
He said “the President is committed to delivering an election that is completely transparent and which will command the general acceptance of the Nigerian population.
“This election as far as the president is concerned will be devoid of to use the Nigerian parlance any wuru-wuru”.
He said “Now in furtherance to this, the president has charged the military the police, the DSS and all security agencies to synergies effectively review the operational strategies and optimally deploy all their operational assets towards addressing current and revolving General security threats ahead of the forth coming general elections
Continuing, the NSA, said “I am confident that the presidential directives will be achieved and 2020 general elections will be conducted peacefully in a stable security environment”
“Let me assure you of the determination of the President to bequeath a legacy of strong democratic institutions and values to our beloved nation. The NSA, added.
Monguno, while calling on the security agencies in the country to work as a team to provide a conducive environment for the elections to hold, commended the police for organizing the workshop, even as he noted that the mandate of providing adequate security during elections processes lies on the shoulder of the police as the lead security agency.
“It is in furtherance to this that President Mohammadu Buhari had always encouraged outcome of gathering of kind that will help foster National building.
“To this regards, the electoral mandate granted to the independent Electoral commission INEC, was witnessed in Anambra and and Osun States to be a step in right direction”.
Also speaking, the Chief of Defence Staff(CDS), General Lucky Irabor, assured of the readiness of the Nigerian armed forces to support the police by providing the necessary security for free, fair and secured general election.
The CDS, who commended the police for the workshop, said “to every Nigerian and friends of Nigeria, there are two principe desires that we have and they are mainly security and a free fair and secured conduct for the 2023, general elections.
Because as members of the armed forces, we give support to the civil authorities in this regard. And the police being the lead internal security position the entire leadership of the armed forces is here to give her support.
Beyond that, we as members of the armed forces have a covenant with the democratic process. The growth and stability of our democracy is so pivotal to our existence and so we are here not only to reckon that covenant but to assure every Nigerian that the military is here to there to support throughout the entire process and beyond, ensuring that as we support in providing secured environment as part of our operational engagement in internal security by the conduct of the 2023, general elections we will also be there to support the police and the security agencies.”
Irabor, while pledging the loyalty of the armed forces to the president and the constitution, said “we are parts and parcel of the process and our officers are here to be part of the training And we are at the fall back in case of any eventuality.
Also speaking, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), professor Mamood Yakub, pointed out that in election preparations, deployment and implementation constitute the most extensive mobilization that could happen in a country, whether in peacetime or in wartime.
Yakubu, said elections in Nigeria, involves the recruitment and training of staff and managing the logistics for their deployment to 176,846 Polling Units spread across 8,809 electoral Wards, 774 Local Areas and 37 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said It also involves a projected voter population of about 95 million for the 2023 General Election which is over 20 million more than the combined voter population of the other 14 countries in West Africa.
“Voters will also elect candidates for 1,491 constituencies (1 Presidential constituency, 28 Governorship elections, 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal Constituencies and 993 State Assembly seats). Ensuring the safety and security of voters, election personnel and materials, candidates, party agents, observers, the media and transporters are enormous.
“This responsibility has become more challenging in the context of the current security situation in the country.
The chairman who commended the police for the workshop, said “I am glad that the Nigeria Police as the lead agency in election security has once again demonstrated its leadership role by convening this Workshop. With about seven months to the next General Election, there is time for proactive measures to ensure that the entire country is secure for election to hold nationwide”.
He further stated that “In addition to physical security, I am glad to note that this Workshop will also focus on deepening the capacity of the security personnel to imbibe and comply with global standard of election security management. Already, the Commission, under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), has produced and periodically revised the code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty. In the next few weeks, the code of conduct as well as our training manuals will be revised to align them with the provisions with the Electoral Act 2022 and to consolidate on the professionalism displayed by the security agencies in the recent off-cycle elections. We will also intensify our cascade training for security personnel ahead of the 2023 General Election.
Earlier in his address, the Inspector General of Police Alkali Baba, said “Election security governance is critical to the advancement of democratic culture across the free world. In Nigeria, by virtue of the Electoral Act 2022 (As amended), the Nigeria Police Force is the lead agency in the election security process. The Force is, however, complemented by the Military, Intelligence community, and other security and safety agencies. The import of this is that the success of every election is determined not just by the strength of the legal framework regulating the course, but by a few other key variables.
“First is the depth of the professional knowledge and operational competence of the Police and other complementary security actors. Second, is the electoral space in terms of the security realities of the country, and third is the extent of the professional bond among the security agencies on the one hand, and between the security agencies, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and other strategic stakeholders in the electoral process on the other hand.
The IGP, said “Whichever way we look at these variables, the reality remains that the Nigeria Police is fundamental to the drive to guarantee an internal security space that will be free of threats that could expose our democratic heritage to risks, and conducive enough for the electoral cycle, which is a critical component of democracy, to be fulfilled.
He said “Over the years, however, there have been questions on the professional capacity of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in relation to the performance of their election security mandate. In addressing these concerns, efforts have been consistently made by the Office of the National Security Adviser, Independent National Electoral Commission, and successive leaderships of the Nigeria Police and these have translated into improved election security operations by the Nigeria Police as evidenced by our widely commended performances during the 2019 General Elections and recent off-season elections in Edo, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun States.
According to him, “Mindful of its critical role in the election security value chain, and conscious of the need to continually broaden its professional knowledge and operational capacity with a view to closing the knowledge gap that could inhibit the optimal delivery of our election security mandate the leadership of the Nigeria Police found it expedient to expose personnel to tailor-made training ahead of the 2023 General Elections. This informed the concept of this Workshop.
“This initiative which is being delivered under the theme – ‘The 2023 General Elections: Enhancing National Security Capacity for a Secure and Credible Electoral Process in Nigeria’ is part of the broad action plans of the Force leadership to prepare Police personnel for the general elections in 2023. It is a Train-the-Trainer Workshop in which participating officers will be supported to transfer the knowledge to be acquired to wider sets of personnel in their Areas of Jurisdiction.
Continuing, the IGP, said Under this phase about four hundred officers will be trained across the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT. For ease of participation, the exercise has been decentralized and will hold in Centres across the six (6) geo-political zones of the country from 4th – 31st August, 2022. The centres comprise of Abuja for North Central; Benin-City for South South; Borno for North East; Enugu for South East; Ibadan for South West, and Kano for North West.