*… directs security agencies to synergise operational strategies
By Kingsley Omonobi, Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general election, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that there will be “no wuruwuru” to favour and political party or candidate contesting in whatever position.
“In furtherance to this, the President has charged the military, the Police, the DSS and all other security agencies to synergize and effectively review operational strategies and optimally deploy all operational assets towards addressing current and evolving internal security threats ahead of the forthcoming general election’s.”
National Security Adviser, Major Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) made this known at the opening of a workshop on ‘Election Security Management’ organised by the Nigerian Police Force in Abuja and Solar Security Consult.
Speaking as the special guest of honour at the flag off, the NSA said: “This noble capacity building programme is germane to our national security.
“This election’s security management training organised by the Inspector-General of Police is coming at the most critical time when our country is exploring initiatives to re-position the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies in delivering a peaceful, secure and credible 2023 general elections is unprecedented and appropriate.
“It will also enhance the capacity to stabilise the current internal security challenges towards creating a conducive environment for the citizens to exercise their franchise.
“A successfully policed and peaceful electoral cycle is a fundamental variable in the quest by any nation to advance its democracy and deepen its democratic ‘gates’.
“The mandate for this process in Nigeria rests principally on the shoulders of the police, being the lead security agency in the electoral process with the intelligence community, other security agencies and the military playing critical complementary roles.
“It is, therefore, expedient that the professional knowledge of the police, military and other security agencies be constantly refreshed, widen and tuned to global best practices in the national quest to consolidate our democracy and meet the yearnings of the citizens for a safe, secure and credible outcome at every electoral cycle.
“In furtherance to this, President Muhammadu Buhari has encouraged and supported the development of policy and legal frameworks, directed and strengthened our democratic institutions and culture, while also advancing the security sector reform agenda that is aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies in the delivery of their election security mandates.
“The presidential assent to the Electoral Amendment bill on 25th of February this year represents a classical statement on the firm commitment of Mr. President to the deepening of our democracy as the new law contains innovative provisions that will enhance the credibility of the electoral process in our country.
“The president also clearly maintains that upholding the autonomy of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is a veritable pathway to a sustainable democracy.
“In this regard, the financial autonomy granted to INEC in the Electoral Act of 2022 as amended in destructive.
“Indeed, the successes recorded in the recent governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states clearly demonstrates Mr. President commitment to guarantee a level-plain field for our democracy to strife.
“I wish at this juncture to assure you all of the determination of the President to be begueath a leagcy of strong democratic institutions and values to our beloved nation.
“This remains resolute and the commitment in guaranteeing a free, fair, credible and secure general elections in 2023 remains a wavering.
“I must reiterate that the President is firmly committed to delivering an election that is completely transparent and going to 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 ‘Wurururu’.
“Now, in furtherance to this, the President has charged the military, the police, the DSS and all other security agencies to synergise effectively review the operational strategies and optimally deploy all the operational assets towards addressing current and evolving internal security threats ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
“I am confident that the Presidential directives will be achieved and the 2023 general elections will be conducted peacefully in a stable security environment.
“Inorder to achieve this strategic objective, a high level of professonalism, patroitism and synergy among all security agencies concerned in the electoral process is fundamental. I am therefore optimistic that this workshop will enhance the capacity of security agencies with the view to providing a lasting solution to our current and future elections security issues.
“As we prepare for the 2023 general elections, I urge all the participants to take full advantage of the opportunity provided by this important training to enhance their professional knowledge, build a professional network and engage in professional peer review interactions that could be explored to sharpen their operational proficiency during the 2023 general elections and other joint internal security task.
“I look forward to a workshop outcome that will positively change elections security governance in Nigeria and guarantee the success of the 2023 general elections”.
In his remarks, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali 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.
“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.”
Among dignitaries at the occasion were the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu; American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth-Leonard; the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor; Service Chiefs, former IGPs including Dr. Solomon Arase, Ogbonna Onovo, Mike Okiro, MD Abubakar, Aliyu Attah, and representatives of EFCC and NYSC.