FG to profile political leaders, warns against unguarded utterances
As INEC Worries Over Insecurity
The Federal Government has ordered security agencies to monitor and profile key political actors ahead of the 2023 general election, according to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno.
This as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) expressed concern over the security situation in the country and its impact on the electoral process.
Speaking at a meeting of Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), yesterday, in Abuja, Monguno said the move to monitor political leaders was to bring to book those exhibiting tendencies to subvert the electoral process.
Represented by Sanusi Galadima at the event, the NSA said the Federal Government was concerned about the growing uncertainty heralding the conduct of party primaries for the 2023 elections.
“This is in addition to the unabated spate of violence that threatened the coming off cycle gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states, arising from internal party wrangling and the inability of various contending political blocs to amicably resolve differences in line with democratic tenets,” he stated.
Monguno said the disturbing development culminated in intense power play capable of brewing unnecessary political tension across the country.
He said: “More worrisome is the unguarded utterances of some highly-respected individuals and groups, which, more often, amplifies divisive narratives to the detriment of national security and stability.
“Accordingly, 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, who exhibit tendencies to subvert the electoral process, even as thugs and their sponsors would equally be trailed for possible arrest and prosecution.”
The NSA stressed the need for INEC to enjoin political parties to consistently abide by prescribed rules as outlined in their respective manifestos.
This, according to him, is to significantly reduce areas of conflict and ensure a peaceful atmosphere for a hitch free off cycle and general election.
He commended INEC for articulating a comprehensive Election Project Plan for the 2023 general election, including a five-year strategic action plan (2022-2026).
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said despite the general security situation in the country, the commission was confident that with nine months to the 2023 elections, there is enough time to respond to the security challenges.
Yakubu told the security agencies: “We must not wait until a few weeks to the election before we realise that time is not on our side and begin to seek extension of timelines.
“Even as we prepare for the 2023 general election, the commission is also preparing for two off-cycle governorship elections in Ekiti on June 18 and Osun on July 12, 2022. We have pending by-elections in 18 constituencies across the country involving three senatorial districts, one federal constituency and 14 state constituencies.”
He noted that as political parties end their primaries on June 3, 2022 and candidates emerge, campaign in public by political parties would commence nationwide as provided by the timetable for the election, in line with the 1999 Constitution.
His words: “Going forward, the Commission and security agencies have our work clearly cut out for us. We have tasked our 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 basis for further engagement with the security agencies as well as devise the best way to provide electoral services to all Nigerians under all circumstances.”