- A roundtable on security challenges ahead of the 2023 general elections was held in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja
- The speakers at the event include Governor Samuel Ortom, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, while Governor Abdullahi Ganduje chaired the event
- The conversation revolved around the safety and wellbeing of Nigerian citizens ahead of the elections
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FCT, Abuja - Benue governor, Samuel Ortom has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the 2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state are allowed to vote in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Governor Ortom made the call at the while speaking at a roundtable organised by Platinum Post Newspaper in Abuja on Tuesday, November 22 with the theme: “Contemporary Security Challenges and their effects on 2023 general elections.”
Represented by his special adviser of Millennium Development Goals, Professor Magdalene Dura, Ortom decried a development where illegal migrants who crossed the Nigerian borders with arms are allowed to vote, but citizens are disenfranchised from the process.
He also alleged that Permanent Voters Cards are already in the wrong hands in the country ahead of the elections.
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He accused the federal government of focusing on IDPs in the northeast while ignoring those in Benue state because of political reasons.
“There is a need for government to ensure the credibility of the electoral process. There is a lack of equity and justice in Nigeria.
“INEC needs to have comprehensive data on the IDPs so that they can create Polling Units for IDPs. Is it not possible for INEC to ensure that those displaced return to their homes to vote? INEC must open discussions with IDPs to know what they need.”
2023: Al-Mustapha raises alarm over arms proliferation, hard drugs
On his part, the presidential candidate of the Action Alliance, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha (rtd), tasked Nigerians to take more than a passing interest in arms proliferation on the eve of a general election.
“As of today, all the agencies in Nigeria and I’m sure the representative of the Inspector General of Police, if he’s aware of what I’m going to talk about, new discoveries of movements of drugs, arms, are coming into Nigeria through numerous borders and in large quantities. I’m talking of now as I speak. But I’m sure society is not aware.
“The question, is at whose instance are these new weapons coming in? Why the increase? Who are the vendors? Who has sent it? Is it politicians? What is the plan, for an election hold? Has friction started between political parties and candidates and their supporters?
“The question is who is sending the arms? To reinforce the insurgency or to reinforce the political side of it? This is as of now the major issue in the laboratory of national security management of Nigeria, as at now that I talked to you.”
Kano most peaceful state in northern Nigeria, says Ganduje
Speaking earlier, Kano state governor and chairman of the occasion, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, commended the organisers for the choice of topic especially on the eve of a general election.
Represented by his Chief of Staff/Head of Service, Usman Bala Mohammed, Ganduje described the topic as very relevant against the prevailing mood on security challenges.
He, however, allayed the fears of Nigerians ahead of the polls, assuring that security agencies were prepared for the task ahead of them.
He also stated that there are no security concerns in Kano as the state is the most peaceful in northern Nigeria.
“The importance of the topic in relation to the nation’s current security situation in the face of an election cannot be over-emphasized.
“And more so, my state, Kano is among states in the federation, and particularly in the north that have had one security challenge or the other, which we have, with the will of God the Almighty, be able to surmount. Kano is now one of the most peaceful states in the federation.
“Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, insecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing the conduct of the 2023 general elections. Ensuring the safety and security of voters, election personnel, materials, candidates, party agents, observers, the media and transporters etc is paramount.
“The responsibility has become more challenging in the context of the current asymmetric security situation in the country.
“With about a few months until the next general elections, there is no better time for proactive measures than now to ensure that the nation is secure enough for elections to be held across the nooks and crannies of the country.
“However, despite the severity of the security challenges facing next year’s polls, I believe that the relevant security agencies have the potency to ensure that the process is made peaceful and secure by synergizing effectively, reviewing the operational strategies and optimally deploying all their operational assets towards addressing current and evolving general security threats ahead of the elections.”
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Platinum Post, Edwin Olofu, in his opening remarks said the choice of topic for the roundtable is not only timely but very important considering the fact that there is a relationship between security and the peaceful conduct of elections.
“Going by the campaigns and debates on issues relating to the governance of the country by candidates of the leading political parties, there is no doubt that the election is potentially going to be the most keenly contested exercise in Nigeria’s political history.
“As members of the fourth estate of the realm, it is incumbent on us to mobilise the citizenry to prove the naysayers who are already instilling fears in the minds of the electorates that the election could be marred due to spate of violent crimes in parts of the country.
“The objective of the roundtable is to find answers to some nagging questions posed by the current security situation in the country and mobilise the electorate to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance.
“This roundtable highlights the need for government to sensitise the public on the power of voting, and the need to eschew violent conduct, before, during, and after the polls through effective media campaigns.”
2023: Stick to issues, not sentiments - APC chieftain tells presidential candidates
Meanwhile, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim recently warned presidential candidates of the various political parties against further widening the existing gulf and divisions in the country in their race and ambition for 2023.
In a statement sent to onebeat.com.ng, the APC chieftain explained that in the quest for power by the candidates, rather than addressing issues that are relevant to our nationhood, the actors have been inflaming the passion of tribal and religious bias among citizens.
According to him, the supporters of the candidates are also driving their campaigns and marketing of their candidates via intimidation, threat, disinformation and blackmail, without any word of caution from their principals.
Imumolen cautions Nigerians on who they vote for in 2023
On his part, Accord Party presidential candidate, Prof Chris Imumolen has declared that only a candidate who is not affiliated with any sect in Nigeria can solve the challenges faced by the country.
Speaking at a youth gathering commemorating International Youth Day, Imumolen said voting right is the only way to ensure that critical issues are addressed.
He also said he has commenced the process of preparing the minds of voters to vote right in the coming election and to educate all and sundry on the kind of personality needed to get Nigeria back on its feet.