Electoral Laws will Be Applied in 2019 Polls, Says NSA

1
Babagana Monguno

By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

As part of efforts to curb vote buying and other electoral malpractices, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), has said that all electoral laws would be applied in the 2019 general election.

He said that the forthcoming general election have to be conducted in such a manner that would be accepted by Nigerians and the international community.

Monguno disclosed this Wednesday in Abuja during the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (IACCES) held at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission ((INEC), where he warned that any security agency found culpable of election infractions would be held responsible.

According to him, “As 2019 elections draw close, there will be a greater need for us to meet frequently to deal with whatever issues that will arise and forestall any unpleasant situation before, during and after election.”

He also revealed that there would be an Election Security Management Seminar slated for October 11, 2018, which would be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The NSA stressed that the idea was to streamline all the areas that need to be looked at and to begin training sessions for all security operatives who will provide security during the elections.

Monguno stated: “Of course, there are code of conduct to all the security agencies and they will all be held responsible for any infractions during elections.

“It is also important for us to understand that operating outside the confines of legality or legitimacy will be viewed very seriously.

“There will be full enforcement of all election laws. Now there are certain matters which give me concern. Already we started witnessing a different type of atmosphere regarding preparations for election, in terms of utterances of individuals, which are not healthy for elections and could incite the public.

“Excuses of course will not be tolerated…There will of course be full enforcement of electoral laws. Now there are certain trends that give us concern.”

According to him, “Again there will be issues of vote buying and vote selling. These are concerns that we have to look into collectively and begin to deal with whatever problems that might arise from these unfavourable acts.

“Therefore it is extremely important that long before the 2019 elections, we must be able to find a way of surmounting this dangerous trend.

“Anybody found complicit in any situation will of course have to bear the consequences on his own. It is very important for you to pass this message down the line to all your operatives. Any colouration or complicity by any of your staff will be viewed with all seriousness it deserves. I don’t need to overemphasise that.”

Earlier, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that a good election is good for this country, while a bad election is a recipe for disaster and which the country doesn’t want.

He noted that some recent developments in the polity called for greater vigilance, stressing that statements by some of the political actors captured in various and circulated nationwide via social media platforms is something that the security agencies need to take note of.

“Because if we allow this to fester, it will encourage those who may wish to do some destructive actions or feel encouraged to do so. But if we take immediate actions, I think we may be able to stop them and further secure the environment for us to conduct free fair credible elections.

“But in the case of Osun State in particular, I will like to draw the attention of the IACCES to this very disturbing trend of vote buying on election day, where some individuals openly flout the electoral Act by inducing voters with all manner of things on election day. We should not allow this to happen on election day,” he said.