By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Apparently to restore trust in Nigeria’s electoral process, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has assured that the security agencies would not interfere in governorship elections slated to hold in Bayelsa, Kogi, Imo states on November 11, 2023.
This is even as he revealed that the security agencies are mapping out strategies and readying themselves to ensure that the elections in the three states are free, fair and transparent.
Ribadu gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja during the quarterly meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) held in his office, stressing that security agencies in the country are getting prepared and are ready to meet the requirements and standards the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will demand from them on election days.
The NSA stated that the requirements of the entire security outfits have been met, adding that the rest is for them to deliver on the day as he assured that the federal government will not interfere in the electoral process.
Said he: “We (security agencies) want to give assurance to Nigerians that this election will be even better than what we have had in the past. This election is going to be free and fair. This election will be without interference. This election is going to be without violence. This election is going to be credible.
“It is going to be a litmus test for us. Three important states, one in the North-Central, one in the South East, one in the South-south and we are ready for it”.
Speaking further at the ICCES parley, Ribadu said:
“We will provide what it takes to provide credible elections and we are impressed with the preparations we have seen from INEC and we will work together. Collectively it is our responsibility to deliver.”
Earlier in his OpeningRemarks, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu pointed out that Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi are not the easiest states in Nigeria to conduct elections even in the best of times.
Yakubu stressed that the difficult geographical terrain and prevailing insecurity are compounded by negative mobilisation by political actors, especially since the commencement of campaign in public on July 14, 2023.
The INEC boss noted that the three states have 5,409,438 registered voters, out of which 5,169,692 have collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) even as he explained that eligible voters would vote in all the 10,510 Polling Units. READ ALSO:
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Yakubu, however, said that there are two Polling Units in Bayelsa State and 38 PUs in Imo state that are without registered voters, adding that the list of these Polling Units is available on the Commission’s website.
“Similarly, election results will be collated in 649 Registration Areas/Wards, 56 Local Government Areas and three State collation centres.
“This gives us a cumulative figure of 11,178 voting and collation locations to deploy security personnel in the three States.
“This is in addition to ensuring a secure environment for the ongoing campaigns and rallies by political parties and candidates, security of voters, the escort of personnel and materials, protection of assets and general security for all persons with legitimate reason to participate in the election and electoral activities”, Yakubu added.