2023: Insecurity could lead to cancellation/postponement of election in sufficient constituencies -BEI
The Board of Electoral Institute (BEI) has expressed fear that if not checked, insecurity could lead to the cancellation or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies which would precipitate a constitutional crisis.
Abdullahi Zuru, chairman of the board of intellectual think tank of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), expressed fear at the validation of election security training resources in Abuja.
Zuru however, said that must not and shall not be allowed to happen and charged security agencies to rise up to the occasion of ensuring hitch-free polls.
He said: “We all appreciate the fact that Election Security is vital to democratic consolidation through the provision of enabling environment for the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections and thus strengthening the electoral process.
“Consequently, in preparations for the 2023 General elections, the Commission is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that intensive and extensive security are provided for election personnel, materials and processes.
“This is particularly significant to the Commission given the current insecurity challenges in various parts of the country and the fact that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members constitute the core of the Polling Unit Election officials.
“Moreover, if the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder the declaration of elections results and precipitate a constitutional crisis. This must not be allowed to happen and shall not be allowed to happen.
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“Therefore, Security Personnel in particular and all electoral officials, in general, must be security conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment and must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all times,” he said.
Zuru said reports on the conduct of security operatives during the elections conducted by INEC specifically stand-alone governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states have shown progressive and commendable improvement in their disposition to electoral training and professionalism on election duties.
“It is believed that the efficiency and effectiveness of security operatives during these Elections owe a lot to the Electoral Security Training conducted by The Electoral Institute as reviewed by other critical stakeholders.
“In a bid to consolidate on these gains, TEI in collaboration with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) held a three-day workshop to review the Electoral Security Personnel Training Manual and Handbook in Kano on the 9th through 11th August 2022.
“The workshop reviewed the subsisting Election Security Personnel (ESP) Manual and Handbook in the light of the prevailing security challenges in the country as well as the impact of the new provisions in the Electoral Act, 2022 on the operations of election security personnel; and
Developed a Training Guide (Facilitator) for Electoral Security Personnel training.
“In view of the above, the Commission has invited renowned election security experts and key critical stakeholders on election security management and conduct of elections in challenging electoral environments to interrogate and validate these Election Training Resources:
“(i) Election Security Personnel (ESP) Training Manual, 2023; (ii) Handbook on Election Security for Security Personnel (iii) Trainers’ Guide on Handbook for Election Security, 2023 and (iv) Basic Security on Election Duties (BaSED) Handbook, 2023.
“It is very important to authenticate, refine and validate these training resources to ensure adequate preparation for the 2023 general elections,” he said.