The Issue: Security at the Polls
The conduct of the 2011 general elections is now constitutionally less than 120 days away except, if by unparalleled ingenuity, the National Assembly accedes to the request of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for extension till April 2011. And as usual with so many things Nigerian, preparations for the elections have been bedevilled, as a result of lateness in commencing the preparations, which has made even the INEC like several other analysts to ask for more time beyond the current constitutional provisions. Only recently the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) likened the appointment of Attahiru Jega as INEC chair to that of Lars Lagerback as Super Eagles coach, which was also done very close to the World Cup fiesta and while the SNG leader hoped that Jega would not fail the way Lagerback did with the Super Eagles at the fiesta, what the comparison elicited in me is the wise saying that, ‘it is insanity to do things the same way and expect different results’.
It was in order not to sound as a prophet of doom that I opted to reframe the title of this piece from the original, ‘Why 2011 general elections will still fail’. Just like I found it hard to convince a number of friends before the World Cup fiesta that there was no miracle that could make the Super Eagles perform well even with the appointment of the best coach to replace Amodu Shaibu at that time, I believe it will be a herculean task to convince optimistic Nigerians that the success or otherwise of the 2011 general elections goes beyond Attahiru Jega and the INEC. As Nigerians, we are too accustomed to closing our eyes to obvious realities before an event, with unfounded optimism for the best of results, only to become expert analysts on how we got it wrong when the results at the end of the event proves contrary to our optimism.
The significance of security in the conduct of elections, particularly in Nigeria, cannot be overemphasized. The 2007 general elections and subsequent re-run and by-elections have left us with undesirable experiences regarding the security of electorates, electoral officials and election materials with the entire process completely hijacked by political thugs in several of the polling booths across the country. As a matter of fact, the funds and stress that went into the post-2007 elections judicial contests could have been saved only if the Police had ensured the incidences of ballot-snatching & stuffing were eliminated. And if the truth must be told, with the present situation of things, there is no indication that any measures have been put in place to ensure a different situation in this regard come 2011.
Notwithstanding the commendable efforts by both the Executive and the Legislature thus far on the preparations for the elections as well as those of the INEC in opting for a fresh voters’ register to guarantee credible polls, so long as the security component of preparations is neglected, the 2011 elections will still fail to meet the genuine aspirations of the people. While the INEC has been doing a lot in preparing for the elections and the politicians too have begun preparations with a good number of them already declaring interests in the various elective positions and the political parties already fixing the dates for their conventions, there is doubt if any preparation by the Police to guarantee maximum security during the conduct of the elections is on.
To complement all the efforts and resources already expended on the preparations including of course the over N87 billion of tax-payers’ money released to procure the Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines for the voters’ registration exercise, the Nigerian Police must also adequately prepare for the elections and this must transcend the usual day-to-day policing tendencies for which we know the Police. The Police can help ensure that the true will of the people emerges at the polls by ensuring that at the polling stations, there is no room for the intimidation of voters by political thugs of those who are bent on usurping the voting power of the electorate to impose themselves on the people.
A good example to underscore the security dimension of the conduct of elections was given by Adeyeye Joseph in his column in The Punch of Tuesday, August 24, 2010 in which he made reference to Obosi in Anambra State where thugs ordered voters who were not PDP members to ‘vacate’ the polling booth during the 2007 elections, a situation he said made a young voter to ask the question during an electoral enlightenment programme to the effect that, “what should we do when we go out to vote and party thugs surround us with cutlasses and insist we vote for a particular candidate?” And in the same column, he had alluded to the report of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) on the 2007 elections, which underscored the fact that ‘when elections are preceded by last-minute security preparations, the organizers are only programming them to fail’.
In the same manner the INEC was able to articulate its position to secure N87 billion for the conduct of a fresh voters’ registration amongst other things, it is expected of the Police hierarchy, with the benefit of previous experiences in the conduct of elections, to come up with their requirements for effective security at the forthcoming polls, no matter what the cost is. This must cover the requirement of men and equipments to be deployed in all the polling booths during the elections, such equipments as are needed for effective communication and mobility by the security men on election duty. And I believe that the same way the INEC’s request was treated with national urgency, such a request from the Police would also receive adequate executive and legislative support.
In projecting the idea of the National Youth Network on Nigeria Elections (NYNNE) in its press statement, for effective policing of the 120,000 polling units, there ought to be at least 2 police officers in each polling unit fully armed with adequate communication and mobility resources. This gives us the need for a minimum of 240,000 officers to only man the polling stations. Considering the fact that the Police would not abandon its duty to several other areas of State all because of the elections and may as such not be able to deploy this number of men, that is if we even have up to that figure in the force, NYNNE has suggested the formation of a Joint Elections Para-military Commission (JEPC) to pull human resources from other Para-military agencies like the Civil Defense Corps, Man-O-War and the likes, to join forces with the Police. This is to ensure that away from the old ineffective mode of collaboration among these agencies, there is such a commission as the JEPC with men and officers pulled from the various agencies under a single command that is singularly responsible for effective security at the polls.
Further to this, an intensive training of about six to eight weeks should be conducted under the auspices of the commission for all the officers in all areas of election security covering but not limited to ‘Handling of electorates in quelling untoward situations during an election’, ‘Safeguarding electoral officials and election materials’ and ‘Channeling undue influence by politicians’. With the recent advent of bombing in Nigeria, the Police must also undertake training in relation to this so as not to take chances.
The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) should also give attention to advocacy in this regard of election security and not limit their work on the aspects of preparation that concern only INEC. The Network On Police Reform In Nigeria (NOPRIN) should take responsibility to lead the CSOs on this course of action. We all have a responsibility to ensure that the 2011 elections have at least a measurable 80% success and no stone must be left unturned in this regard.
When INEC is able to produce a credible voters’ register and is able to mobilize men and resources to the various polling stations but the Police and other security agencies cannot guarantee security of those men and resources along with the electorates, the desired results cannot be realized. It is in this regard that the necessary efforts must be kick-started towards the emergence of formidable security machinery for the elections.
The Police hierarchy must wake up to its responsibility of ensuring and assuring adequate preparation for effective security at 2011 polls. The CSOs should as well be upbeat about this. This is an aspect of the electoral process that is largely overlooked but eventually ends up being very critical as has been largely witnessed in the recent re-run elections in Ekiti state. Rather than wait to simply put reports of woes together in this regard after the elections, we can join forces together now in ensuring that better preparations are put in place by the security agencies just the same way it is on with the INEC.
Olutosin Ogunmola is currently the National Coordinator of the National Youth Network on Nigeria Elections (NYNNE), a coalition of over 100 youth NGOs and youth-led community organizations, which is championing effective youth participation in the electoral process by combating apathy in the educated youth and vulnerability to electoral violence in the uneducated youth.
“Only Aketi can defeat Aketi in the coming election”
Who’s Abayomi Ale?
My name is Ale Abayomi Abiodun. I am a lawyer, a transaction advisor, sustainability champion, workplace culture expert, and a politician. I am a family man. I am a proud Owo son and an indigene of Ondo State. I am debonair and conservative by nature. I may be a polymath too. I’m also a health enthusiast.
The Governorship election in Ondo State is approaching, what’s your view about the election?
It’s just another defined term for evaluation of performance. In the overview, we are lucky that Ondo State election won’t be going the rowdy way like Edo States’. Most times when too much emotions get invested in any particular election, it’s the masses and the State’s economy that suffers it the most. Such are usually violent; very expensive, as politicians may be spurred to spend ten naira where they ought to have spent five naira; and its usually difficult to recover from such battles when a winner eventually emerges. Such victories are usually pyrrhic and attended with enormous court battles.
We would have fall into same labyrinth if the estranged deputy governor of Ondo State had won the PDP ticket of the State. Its obvious God has favoured us for peace and prosperity with the way the Primary elections of the two mainstream political parties in the State turned out.
Who is your preferred candidate?
Oh… you can see that from every shade of my body language.
To be frank with you, I am of the believe that this administration has not only performed creditably well in so many sectors, but has set the economic quadrants of the State towards achieving financial sustainability. The latter is one of the reasons I preach that Arakunrin Akeredolu be allowed a second term to consolidate the foundation he has laid before handing over to another illustrious son of the State. This administration has positioned the state on a tripod stand of Industrial Opportunities; Security and Exit Strategy Seaport that will help export value-added produce and products.
This is a diversion that leads to financial independence of Ondo State. It’s a redirection that will gradually reduce our dependency on FAAC droppings from the Federal table. I strongly believe such a vision should be supported for another four years.
Are you supporting Aketi because he is your kinsman?
(Laughs)…..That’s not true. As a fact, I worked for another candidate in 2016 and didn’t support him then. This wasn’t because I didn’t trust his capacity and character then, but because I had the burden of political loyalty. My political teacher and master then supported Olusola Oke….he was even the Director-General of his campaign. There was no way I would switch loyalty midstream. I don’t give less than 100% loyalty to whomever or whatever I believe.
So you are back now with Barr. Olusola Oke to support the governor?
I have been back to support and respect Aketi as the leader of the party in the State right from when everyone returned to APC. I never supported the Unity Group. I returned to corporate practice of Law in Abuja since 2018…… I have learnt that to hold on to an ideology in Nigeria’s polity, you may need to retain and develop your second address; else the only alternative will be to become an apple-polish. I am not very good in bootlicking.
Do you think Aketi will win, or which of the candidates do you think will win the October 10 election in Ondo State?
Aketi will win! Part of my training is to be objective in analyzing products, projects, challenges and service. On this one, I reached the verdict that only Aketi can defeat Aketi in the coming election. In the scale of balances, Aketi is a strong candidate with the advantage of incumbency in the ruling party at both the central and the State. One of his contenders is a weak candidate, but with a good political party structure. The other is a good grassroot mobiliser in a political party that less than 2% of the voters in Ondo State presently can recognize its party logo. This is apart from that the latter has been labeled a turncoat with a vaulting ambition.
All Factors and Indicators point to Aketi’s win. The man is an example of what God meant in Psalm 23:5.
What is your dream for Ondo State?
That we eventually exploit our potentials to maximized benefits. Ondo State is strategically positioned with both land mineral resources and seaport advantage. If the first white man’s ship had berth at our shores, we would have been ten times greater than what Lagos is today. I believe that with the right balanced heads and economic advisers in Alagbaka for a continued period of terms, Ondo state will grow in leaps and bounds. Hopefully, the exclusive list of our federal constitution would be devolved soon. It has been a stone in the wheels of progress to many States in Nigeria.
OUTSTANDING NIGERIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT CHAIRMEN MERIT AWARD “2020”
Outstanding Nigerian Local Government Chairman Merit Award 2020
- The Executive Chairman, Aba South LGA. Abia State
- The Executive Chairman, Mahia LGA, Adamawa State
- The Executive Chairman, Ifedore LGA, Ondo State
- The Executive Chairman, Ovia South-West LGA, Edo State
- The Executive Chairman, Eastern Obolo LGA, Akwa-Ibom State
- The Executive Chairman, Iwo LGA, Osun State
- The Executive Chairman, Akinyele LGA, Oyo State
- The Executive Chairman, Anambra West LGA, Anambra State
- The Executive Chairman, Bogoro LGA, Bauchi State
- The Executive Chairman, Sagbama LGA, Bayelsa State
- The Executive Chairman, Ador LGA, Benue State
- The Executive Chairman, Askira/Uba LGA, Borno State
- The Executive Chairman, Akampa LGA, Crossriver State
- The Executive Chairman, Aniocha South LGA, Delta State
- The Executive Chairman, Ohaukwu LGA, Ebonyi State
- The Executive Chairman, Egor LGA, Edo State
- The Executive Chairman, Ikole LGA, Ekiti State
- The Executive Chairman, Igbo Eze LGA, Enugu State
- The Executive Chairman, Bwari LGA, Federal Capital Territory
- The Executive Chairman, Balanga LGA, Gombe State
- The Executive Chairman, Obokun LGA, Osun State
- The Executive Chairman, Oluyole LGA, Oyo State
- The Executive Chairman, Ideato South LGA, Imo State
- The Executive Chairman, Babura LGA, Jigawa State
- The Executive Chairman, Kachia LGA, Kaduna State
- The Executive Chairman, Gezawa LGA, Kano State
- The Executive Chairman, Dan Musa LGA, Katsina State
- The Executive Chairman, Argungu LGA, Kebbi State
- The Executive Chairman, Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi State
- The Executive Chairman, Toungo LGA, Adamawa State
- The Executive Chairman, Baruten LGA, Kwara State
- The Executive Chairman, Ibadan South-West LGA, Oyo State
- The Executive Chairman, Eti-Osa LGA, Lagos State
- The Executive Chairman, Akwanga LGA, Nasarawa State
- The Executive Chairman, Borgu LGA, Niger State
- The Executive Chairman, Odeda LGA, Ogun State
- The Executive Chairman, Ilaje LGA, Ondo State
- The Executive Chairman, Ife-Central LGA, Osun State
- The Executive Chairman, Egbeda LGA, Oyo State
- The Executive Chairman, Langtang North LGA, Plateau State
- The Executive Chairman, Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State
- The Executive Chairman, Girei LGA, Adamawa State
- The Executive Chairman, Bodinga LGA, Sokoto State
- The Executive Chairman, Kurmi LGA, Taraba State
- The Executive Chairman, Olorunda LGA, Osun State
- The Executive Chairman, Iddo LGA, Oyo State
- The Executive Chairman, Karasuwa LGA, Yobe State
- The Executive Chairman, Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State
- The Executive Chairman, Ryom LGA, Plateau State
- The Executive Chairman, Song LGA, Adamawa State
- The Executive Chairman, Alkaleri LGA, Bauchi State
- The Executive Chairman, Emure LGA, Ekiti State
- The Executive Chairman, Lokoja LGA, Kogi State
- The Executive Chairman, Akoko North-West LGA, Ondo State
- The Executive Chairman, Yewa North LGA, Ogun State
- The Executive Chairman, Odo-Otin LGA, Osun State
- The Executive Chairman, Afijio LGA, Oyo State
- The Executive Chairman, Ado-Ekiti LGA, Ekiti State
- The Executive Chairman, Koton-Karfi LGA, Kogi State
- The Executive Chairman, Odeda LGA, Ogun State
- The Executive Chairman, Orolu LGA, Osun State
- The Executive Chairman, Mangu LGA, Plateau State
- The Executive Chairman, Ibadan South LGA, Oyo State
Pastor Adeboye Leads Protest to End Killings in Nigeria
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, discarded his hitherto conservative and conciliatory disposition and took to the streets to lead thousands of his members in a protest march against insecurity and killings of Christians across the nation, especially in northern states.
The action is sequel to an earlier directive by the leader of one of the most influential Pentecostal churches in Nigeria that its members should conduct the protest nationwide, with him starting his own action at exactly 11am at the RCCG National Headquarters in Ebute Metta, Lagos.
The Assistant General Overseer (Admin and Personnel) of the church, Pastor J.F Odesola, in a circular dated January 29, 2020, addressed to all regions and provinces of the RCCG, parishes of the church were asked to end their service not later than 11am on Sunday to enable members “march round their immediate environment, praying for God’s intervention in the ongoing situation in Nigeria.”
The protests are at the instance of the RCCG General Overseer, Pastor Adejare Adeboye.
The circular, read: “The Christian Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body for all Christians and Christian organisations in Nigeria, has made a clarion call for prayers and advocacy to all Christians in Nigeria in response to the inhumane acts against Christians in the country.”
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