The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno’s warning to all security agencies not to compromise the forthcoming 2019 general election is timely. The security chief, who gave the warning at the recent meeting of the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security in Abuja, said that government will sanction any security agency that aid or abet rigging of the 2019 general election. He also urged the security personnel to perform their assigned duties without compromising the integrity of the polls.
We commend the NSA for his timely advice and urge the government to ensure that the personnel of the security agencies stick to the directive. The ignoble roles of some of our security agencies and their personnel in past elections are well known. The warning from the NSA, a few months to the 2019 general election, is reassuring. The security agencies should ensure security during the election and the continued existence of the country.
All relevant stakeholders, especially those saddled with the responsibility of the peaceful conduct of election, must get the support of all Nigerians in the forthcoming 2019 general election. We must improve on the gains of the 2015 general election as well as build confidence in the sanctity of our electioneering processes.
Election is a celebration of democracy which guarantees the right to free choice. Nothing should be done, therefore, to subvert its true essence. Besides, it is a very expensive enterprise which nations that take themselves seriously cannot trifle with.
It is estimated that the 2019 general election alone is expected to gulp about N143bn. The nation had spent so much money in conducting some governorship, National and State Assembly elections since the 2015 election. We call on the politicians and their supporters to help the security agents to ensure that the forthcoming election is not marred by violence and other electoral infractions.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must also ensure that the election is free, fair and credible. All INEC officials and ad hoc staff must maintain the position of absolute political neutrality in the conduct of the election. All the required electoral materials must be made to reach the polling booths on time and the card readers must function effectively.
The security agencies must be neutral while providing security during the election. We say this because whenever the integrity of any election is compromised, the security agencies are seen to be complicit. The 2019 election must be conducted according to the electoral rules.
We urge the electoral umpire to improve on the recent Ekiti State governorship election where vote- buying reportedly reached a disturbing level and where security agents were said to have abetted the process. We advise the voters to resist the temptation to sell their votes, no matter the price. They should realise that selling their votes will amount to mortgaging their future and undermining the electoral process.
READ ALSO: Vote-buying and subversion of democracy
For Nigerians to accept the outcome of the 2019 election, the electoral umpire must ensure that their votes count. Making their votes count is the best way to maintain the sanctity of the ballot box. All stakeholders, including the security agents that will be deployed to safeguard the integrity of election, must realise that election remains an anchor-sheet of democracy and everything should be done to protect it.
All security agents, on electoral duties, must put their best foot forward to defend the larger interest of the nation. This is the least of the duties expected of them and they must resolve not to fail. They must carry out their assigned duties in strict compliance with the rules of engagement and the law. Rather than seek to compromise the integrity of the electoral process, they should be seen to be doing their utmost to secure it, failing which they should be punished.