Elections: Again, Security Must Be On Front Burner

<strong>Elections: Again, Security Must Be On Front Burner</strong>

Days ahead of the D-day, there are several issues bordering on insecurity which must be adequately addressed to assure stakeholders in the Nigerian project that we are ready for a process free from the huge sentimental and parochial interests building up as elections draw near.

We have copiously warned in our previous positions that the national interest must not be jeopardised by any irrational leaning, notwithstanding what cost the compromisers want to bear. It has been our consistent character to warn that the national interest far supersedes any individual manipulations and must be in line with the zeal of patriotic Nigerians.

There are several challenges which do not appear daunting but there seems not to be any collective will to tame the monstrous desires of the evil designs against our national interest. With security breaches at various levels, many have feared that the elections may not hold as proposed by the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, as they differently urged the authorities to reconsider holding the elections as scheduled.

INEC had at a time raised fears, citing rising tensions in parts of the country and the general insecurity across our polity. Not too long ago the electoral umpire’s chief executive officer, Professor Mahmood Yakubu told a not too surprised audience that should the spate of insecurity in the nation persist, the 2023 general elections which were then months away may not hold.

His fears did not come to many as surprise, given the unprecedented harvest of matters relating to insecurity across the length and breadth of the country. Yakubu, who exhibits the capacity as a professor of political science, knows so well the terrain and is guided by contemporary history. He should not expect his terrain to be different. He is still dealing with the same Nigerians his predecessors dealt with. What is expected differently is the fact that he has handled a few off-season elections for which some level of credence has been given to the processes.

While it may not be Uhuru yet, Mahmood has some jubilation to signpost his past record. In Edo, Ekiti, Ondo and lately Osun, INEC has received some form of pass mark which has never been handed down in any epoch in our electoral history. But that must be taken with some cautionary attitude. While he has managed the slippery terrain with some resilience he must not allow this modest achievement weigh him down in an effort to deliver beyond his immediate mark. There is so much to do.

He must continue to work with other critical stakeholders to prove skeptics wrong that a free, fair and credible election is possible in our climes. We are aware that several thousands of security officials cut across several agencies have been drawn to provide cover for the upcoming elections but it calls for more than a mere pontification to a synergy that would see all Nigerians working in file towards achieving our national goal.

We urge the electoral agency not to compromise its stance to deliver the best election by tasking all relevant electoral stakeholders to be alive to their responsibilities. The same goes for the political parties whose agents and followers must be seen to be un-relentless in ensuring a peaceful process before, during and after the elections.

Should the process be marred by foreseeable situations, it would have clearly spelt out that our long-suffering in working out a system that would outlive generations ahead is futile. That is the more reason why all our security agencies and the military which has been drawn into the fray to ensure they give enormous support to the system do not fail a waiting nation.

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