People’s Will Must Prevail in 2019, Buhari Insists

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Muhammadu-Buhari
  • IG seeks collaboration with other security agencies

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the will of Nigerians must prevail in 2019 to drive the democratic architecture of the country.

Also, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris has called for collaboration among sister security agencies in the country during the upcoming 2019 general elections.

President Buhari, who spoke in Abuja yesterday at the opening of a two-day Election Security Management of the National Security Adviser, promised to ensure that security agencies involved in the conduct of the 2019 general elections perform their duties professionally to enable the electorate exercise their franchise.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, the president said the success of the forthcoming elections would partly depend on the professionalism demonstrated by security agencies.

Buhari added that positive changes had been implemented in the nation’s electoral laws to strengthen electoral processes.

He explained that the changes were to ensure that voters were not disenfranchised by actions or inactions of actors or institutions charged with the responsibility of driving the process.

He said, “As President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I am committed to upholding the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as this is a sacred pathway toward our democracy.”

The president noted that “this had been demonstrated in the successes that INEC recorded in Ekiti, Anambra, Ondo and Edo governorship elections, as well as by-elections in some other states.

“Therefore, the sanctity of the process must be upheld by all political parties and other stakeholders across political party divide if the country is to attain its full potential.’’

He recalled his acceptance speech in April 2015 where he affirmed commitment to promote credible elections devoid of interference in the work of INEC.

Buhari said that those assertions were informed by the conviction that no nation could advance its democratic culture under a security orientation that had no assurance for the safety of the electorate and their votes.

The president therefore reassured the international community that Nigeria would continue to advance its democratic credentials within the global space.

He added that “indeed, Nigeria’s commitment to democratic values underscores the leadership roles the country demonstrated in the enhancement of the democratic processes in Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Niger, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau.”

He reiterated confidence in INEC’s competence to conduct credible elections in 2019.

Speaking the event, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, said the 2019 general elections will require the collaboration of all sister security agencies.

He said: “It is when we work together by sharing intelligence and manpower that we can better deliver credible elections.”

He said the greatest challenge of the police and other security agencies in providing security during elections was the conduct of politicians.

The police boss advised politicians to imbibe and internalise the culture of non-violent politics.

“They should avoid conducts which may precipitate violence before, during and after elections.

“I enjoin politicians to make their campaigns issue-based rather than attacking other candidates.”

Idris warned that politicians engaged in electoral malpractice would be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law.

He said that the force would not be deterred in ensuring credible elections in the country as it was constantly training and building capacity of officers on election duties.

Idris assured that all strategic operational plans for credible elections in 2019 have been concluded.

He added that it was the responsibility of the force as the foremost internal security agency to provide security for elections at national, states and local levels.

Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said the commission was planning to engage security agencies on capacity building.

He said that the 2019 elections would be inclusive as all eligible Nigerians, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within the country, would be given the chance to vote in the elections.

The chairman said that the commission was committed to conducting credible, free and fair elections in 2019.

Attendance at the workshop include: NSCDC, Nigeria Immigration Service, FRSC, Federal Fire Service, Police, Army, Air Force, Navy and Nigeria Prison Service.