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Electoral Violence: NSA Places Politicians On Watchlist

Major General Babangana

May 13, (THEWILL) – The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has placed politicians who exhibit tendencies to subvert the electoral process on watchlist.

According to the ONSA, heads of security and law enforcement agencies have been tasked to step up close monitoring and profiling of political actors, no matter how highly placed.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), disclosed this on Friday, in his remarks at the meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja.

Monguno said, ONSA 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”, he said.

Consequently, Mungono, who was represented by Sanusi Galadima, said the disturbing development has already culminated in intense power play, capable of heightening unnecessary political tension across the country.

More worrisome, according to him, was the unguarded utterances of some highly respected individuals and groups, which more often than not, amplify divisive narratives to the detriment of national security and stability.

“Heads of security and law enforcement agencies have been tasked 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”, Monguno said.

He further emphasised the need for INEC to enjoin political parties to consistently abide by prescribed rules as outlined in their respective manifestos.

“This is to significantly reduce areas of conflict and ensure a peaceful atmosphere for a hitch-free off-cycle and general election”, he stated.

Monguno also commended the efforts of the chairman of INEC and his management team for articulating a comprehensive Election Project Plan for the forthcoming 2023 general election, including a five-year strategic action plan (2022-2026).

“The foregoing innovations will undoubtedly deepen Nigeria’s electoral management System, including Election Security Management framework, as well as the entire nation democratic process”, he stated.

Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, lamented the general security situation in the country and its impact on the electoral process, which according to him, is a source of concern to the Commission.

However, Yakubu said the Commission was 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 said 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.

“For instance, with the coming into force of the Electoral Act 2022, there are roles and responsibilities required of all involved in elections, especially in the areas of voter accreditation and result management in particular and election administration in general.

“All these have bearing on election security. We, therefore, need a clear understanding of some of these responsibilities under the new law. For this reason, there will be a presentation on voter registration and data clean up by the ICT Department”, he said.

Yakubu said the Commission will continue to appreciate the cooperation and support of all members of ICCES in our determination to conduct peaceful and credible elections.

“Your support in providing security for the deployment of election materials, the protection of INEC officials, party agents, election observers, journalists and voters make democratic elections and related activities, such as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) possible”, he added.