CLEEN Foundation on Wednesday held a one-day national dialogue on “Security Agencies and Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: The Imperative of Consolidating Strategies Towards Peaceful and Credible Elections.”
The Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, Gad Peter, in his opening remarks at the event which was held at Ibeto Hotels in Abuja while welcoming the attendees and wishing the audience a fruitful discussion said insecurity situation across the country in the build to the general elections calls for concern, hence, the essence of the dialogue to bring stakeholders together to brainstorm on strategies to deal with the menace and to guarantee peaceful elections in February and March 2023.
In his opening speech, the representative of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), General M.L. Alkali (rtd) reiterated the Commission’s readiness to conduct credible, free and fair elections in 2023.
On security, he revealed that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in collaboration with National Security Adviser to ensure adequate security that would guarantee hitch-free elections.
Alkali, therefore, hinted there is no single fear as all security agencies are working together to ensure credible, free and fair elections that would make Nigeria a pride of Africa.
Commenting on “Police and the Security of Elections,” General Martin Agwai (rtd) said election is here and one of the issues faced in the build-up to the elections is insecurity.
Asked on what should the security agencies do to ensure credible, free and fair elections come February and March 2023, the General said, “I am glad that the Police, working with every stakeholder, are leaving no stone untouched to find strategies and buy-in from every corner of the country so that we will have a credible election.
”After all, if we complain about leadership, this is our opportunity to put our heads together to put our house in order to elect those whom we are comfortable with to lead our country and to take us to the paradise or someone greater which we are looking out for.
“This is an opportunity but remember, when we talk about security, it is everybody’s business. It’s not one person’s business alone. All of us have to assist the police to do what they have been trained for. Then we will come up with the election like every other part of the world; we will just go out, cast our votes and come back home to wait for the result.
“I sincerely hope that we will all cooperate with the Police being the lead in security and we will give them all the necessary support so that we can have a very credible, well organised and at the end, we will come up with the leadership that majority of Nigerians want.”
Advising Nigerians to avoid creating unnecessary tension before, during and after the elections, Agwai said, “Technology is a two ways weapon. It gives us the advent of social media to transmit information very easily to tell us what is happening positively and everything. But at the same time, it also has those people who want to use it negatively.
“I will plead with our people, please, don’t allow people to deceive you. Don’t allow people to manipulate you to do things that you don’t know. Let us avoid market mentality of running with the crowd without asking or knowing why they are running. We should ask questions; do our findings very well before we act. Let us not act based on rumour. I urge Nigerians to use Social Media positively.”
The representatives of the Inspector General of Police, AIG Bala Ciroma noted that no doubt insecurity around the country is a big threat to the success of the coming election. Therefore, it demands a robust effort and collaboration involving all security agencies.
Commenting on Police readiness, the AIG said, “This coming election is going to be different from all other elections in the past in the sense that there will be no massive deployment of Police as it were in some states’ elections in the past.
“But mind you that the election is going to take place all over the country. The Police is not the only agency to provide security. There is synergy between all security agencies to ensure that this significant national event record success.
“Therefore, we, the Police, in synergy with other security agencies will ensure that adequate security is provided for peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections,” Ciroma added.
Also in attendance were Oyo State Commissioner of Police, CP Adebowale William; Plateau State Commissioner of Police, CP B.N. Onyeka; Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, CP Yekwi Atokumni, and other senior officers of the police.