For a potential voter on election day, number one item on his mind before leaving the house is his or her security. How safe is the polling booth? Will party thugs that know his or her preferred candidate not attack him or her before getting to the polling booth? These and other security related questions
For a potential voter on election day, number one item on his mind before leaving the house is his or her security. How safe is the polling booth? Will party thugs that know his or her preferred candidate not attack him or her before getting to the polling booth? These and other security related questions would likely engage his attention.
Election could be very violent in this part of the world because of the premium placed on political offices. Unlike in developed democracies where election into offices is call to selfless service, the struggle for political power in Nigeria is always fraught with weapon of war instead of rhetoric.
President Buhari has charged all security agencies to step up their game and ensure maximum security for the electoral process warning that those who wish to perpetrate violence or snatch ballot boxes may have themselves to blame.
In every election cycle, the Kukah Foundation commits all Presidential candidates and their parties to the signing of the Peace Accord. They have been gathered twice this season. First, at the commencement of campaigns in September, then, when the campaigns were heating up leading to verbal attacks and occasional violence at the campaign grounds and the final signing of the Peace Accord would hold this Wednesday, three days to the election.
The nation’s security agencies are conscious of the importance of this year’s elections. The seventh since this democratic dispensation took off. The election is unique in many ways; the President and Commander in Chief is not a candidate in the election. Unlike before where you have outstanding two strong candidates in an election, this year’s election is a four horse-race affair- all showing some level of popularity across the country.
There have been echoes of war in the south east geopolitical zone where unknown gunmen and hoodlums have made life unbearable for residents. Facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have been torched in the past and just few days to the election, these gunmen have attacked three police facilities leaving behind tales of wailing, sorrow, blood, bruises and death.
On 19th February, six people including a policeman were killed when armed men attacked 3 -3 Police Divisional headquarters, Nkwelle-Ezunaka Oyi local government area of Anambra State. Earlier, they had attacked Ukpo and Ogidi where three policemen were killed.
These recent breaches made our security agencies to re-strategise with a vow that the nation would have none of this again. They rose from a crucial meeting on Monday in Abuja with a firm commitment that elections will hold in the country peacefully.
The meeting was presided over by the Chief of Defense and attended by all Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of Department of State Services and the representative of the INEC Chairman.
The security Chiefs came out smoking and from the measured words of General Lucky Irabor, it is given that the election would hold peacefully. Apart from Lagos and Ogun states, the Inspector General of Police ( IGP) Usman Alkali Baba has moved all Commissioners of Police from their duty posts to new postings for the elections. In addition, almost all senior police officers have been posted out to zonal, state and local government areas.
Speaking on Politics Nationwide on the network of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria ( FRCN) on Tuesday, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi Force Public relations Officer confirmed the deployment of senior police officers all over the country. He said the police force would make it impossible for people to move round throughout the period of the election adding that those accredited should restrict their movement to where they are expected to cover.
He warned that policemen caught in areas where they are not posted would face disciplinary action adding that political office holders with policemen attached to them could only come to polling units with only one policeman- their aide-de – camp ADC.
Dr. Peter Afunanya, spokesperson of the Department of State Services said the secret police is fully on ground to make the election a peaceful process. Specifically, between 18th and 21st January, this year, state Directors of security and head of institutions held a strategic workshop in preparation for the elections. In addition, he said agents of the department are all over the nooks and crannies of the country to nip in the bud any attempt to cause security breach.
Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi has assured the nation of the determination of his Corps to protect members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), INEC officials and election materials to be deployed for the 2023 general election.
The Director General of the NYSC, Brig. Gen. Yushau Dogara Ahmed and some key management staff of the Scheme have requested NSCDC to intensify surveillance that would ensure maximum protection and guarantee the security of Corps members, NYSC camps and places of primary assignments like they do for other critical national assets and infrastructures of government.”
The military in the last few days have moved from the barracks to the streets of some state capitals to psychologically warn whoever is planning to engage in anything criminal to think twice. Solders in battle attires were seen on the street of Akure, the Ondo state capital and parts of Lagos state.
From the body language of the military, the activities of the Police and Civil Defence and the DSS, it is assuring that the election would be peaceful and crisis free.