Following the spate of insecurity across the country, the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) on Thursday assured Nigerians that the 2023 general elections would hold and be held in a secured environment.
He stated that the President, Major General Mohammodu Buhari (retd), has ordered the police and other security agencies to review their operational strategies and bring an end to the security challenges which posed a threat to the 2023 elections.
Muguno spoke at the opening of the workshop on election security management organized by the Nigerian Police Force, titled , ‘The 2023 General Elections: Enhancing National Security Capacity for a Secure and Credible Electoral Process in Nigeria’
He also said the 2023 election would be devoid of rigging and other forms of manipulation, adding that the outcome of the elections would be acceptable to the citizens.
He said, ‘‘I wish to assure you all of the determination of the president to bequeath a legacy of strong democratic institutions and values to our believeth nation. His commitment to hold a free, fair, credible, and secured election in 2023 is unwavering. He is firmly committed to delivering an election that is completely transparent which would command a general acceptance of Nigerians. This election as far as the president is concerned would be devoid of any rigging or manipulation.
‘‘In furtherance of this, the president has charged the military, the police and other security agencies to synergise and review their operational strategies and optimally deploy all their operational assets towards addressing current and evolving internal security threats ahead of the general elections. I have confidence that the presidential directives will be achieved and the 2023 election will be held peacefully in a stable and secure environment.”
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakub, said in election preparations, deployment and implementation constitute the most extensive mobilization that could happen in a country, whether in peacetime or in wartime.
Yakubu described elections in the country as huge, adding that the 2023 elections in Nigeria would involve 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.
According to him, 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; 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.“
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, vowed that the military would give the needed support to the police and the INEC towards the successful conduct of the 2023 elections.
“We have a covenant and the growth and sustainability of our democracy is pivotal to our existence. We assure Nigerians that the military is ready to give it support throughout the entire process and beyond the election. We also pledge our loyalty to the president and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria“
Speaking earlier, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, said election security governance was critical to the advancement of democratic culture across the world.
He added, “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, and other strategic stakeholders in the electoral process on the other hand. “