By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed worries over the growing uncertainties surrounding the forthcoming primary elections of the nation’s 18 registered political parties.
National Security Adviser NSA and co-Chairman of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security ICCES, Gen. Mohammed Monguno (retd), stated this Friday in Abuja at a meeting of the committee.
Represented by Sanusi Galadima, the NSA commended the efforts of the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and his management team for articulating a comprehensive Election Project Plan for the forthcoming 2023 general election including a five year strategic action plan.
“The foregoing innovations will undoubtedly deepen Nigeria’s electoral management System including Election Security Management framework as well as the entire nation democratic process.
“However, the NSA has noted with utmost concern, the growing uncertainty heralding the conduct of party primaries for 2023 elections. This is in addition to the unabated spate of violence that threatened the upcoming off cycle gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States, arising from internal party wranglings, increasing acrimony and bickering amongst political actors as well as the inability of various contending political blocs to amicably resolves differences in line with democratic tenants.
“Consequently, the above disturbing development has already culminated in intense power play capable of heightening unnecessary political tension across the country. More worrisome is the unguarded utterances of some highly respected individuals and groups which more often than not amplifies divisive narratives to the detriment of national security and stability.
“Accordingly, heads of security and law enforcement agencies have been task to step up close monitoring and profiling of political actors no matter highly placed who exhibit tendencies to subvert the electoral process, even as thugs and their sponsors would equally be trailed for possible arrest and prosecution”, he stated.
INEC Chairman and leader of ICCES, Prof. Yakubu said INEC has pending bye-elections in 18 constituencies across the country involving three Senatorial Districts, one Federal Constituency and 14 State Constituencies seats.
“In addition, as political parties end their primaries on 3rd June 2022 and candidates emerge, campaign in public by political parties will commence nationwide as provided by the Timetable for the election in line with the provision of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). Going forward, the Commission and security agencies have our work clearly cut out for us.
“The general security situation in the country and its impact on the electoral process is a source of concern to the Commission. However, we are confident that with nine months to the 2023 General Election, there is enough time to respond to the security challenges and secure the nation for elections to take place nationwide. The Timetable for the election has also been released. Let us not wait until a few weeks to the election before we realise that time is not on our side and begin to seek for extension of timelines. The time to act is now. We wish to reassure the security agencies that we will continue to work cooperatively with you to ensure the success of all forthcoming elections and electoral activities.
“We have tasked our Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to provide basic data on areas of security challenges in their States, including citizens living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. Our idea is to harvest the data as a basis for further engagement with the security agencies as well as devising the best way to provide electoral services to all Nigerians under all circumstances”, he stated.