WorldStage Newsonline– The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the general security situation in the country and its impact on electoral process is a source of concern to the commission.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu on Friday in Abuja at Second Quarterly Meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) charged security agencies to act now and respond to security challenges in the county and secure the nation for the 2023 general election for elections to take place nationwide.
He said, “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.
He further explained that he has directed all 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.
According to him, “Even as we prepare for the 2023 General Election, the Commission is also preparing for two off-cycle Governorship elections in Ekiti State on 18th June 2022 and in Osun State on 16th July 2022. Furthermore, we have pending bye-elections in 18 constituencies across the country involving three Senatorial Districts, one Federal Constituency (i.e. House of Representatives seat) and 14 State Constituencies (i.e. House of Assembly 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.
In his remark, the Co-Chairman of ICCES and National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), represented by Sanusi Galadima noted with utmost concern, the growing uncertainty heralding the conduct of party primaries for 2023 elections.
He said, “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.
He noted further, that 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.
Monguno, also explained that the 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 said, “Finally, the NSA, emphasizes the need for INEC to enjoin political parties to consistently abide by prescribed rules as outlined in their respective manifestoes. This is to significantly reduce areas of conflict and ensure a peaceful atmosphere for a hitch free off-cycle and general election.”