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EDITORIAL

2019 Polls And Security Threats

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There is no stressing the fact that spates of insurgency and other forms of criminality constitute a major threat to peaceful conduct of the general elections due next month. We recall that the 2015 general elections were held amidst fear of attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents and also threats of violence by political actors who were bent on pulling the nation down if that was what was required to actualise their political ambition.

Then, activities of the terrorist group were more pronounced but not limited to the Northeast where they hoisted their flags in some local government areas in that geopolitical zone. Whereas their activities were subdued in the early days of the present government, they seem to be staging a comeback even as the security agencies and, the military in particular, brace up for any untoward move.

But there is a worrisome trajectory to the security situation that is affecting areas hitherto believed to be secured enough against any sinister activities. States like Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto, in the Northwest are experiencing some challenges mostly by cattle rustlers as well as communal clashes that have continued to claim lives and properties. It got so bad that Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, mooted the idea of declaring a state of emergency in the state due to the killings by bandits.

In other parts of the country, there have been acts that pose threats to the overall security situation. There are benumbing cases of kidnapping in the Southwest and Southeast. The South south is not spared these national oddities as militants habitually issue threats to return to the creeks and resume their condemnable acts of vandalism. Only recently, two very senior military officers were killed by hoodlums heightening the anxiety among the populace.

As if these are not disturbing enough, Nigerian Customs Service, on a regular basis seize caches of arms and ammunition illegally imported into the country by elements that do not wish the country well. We call attention to this parlous state of affairs as the nation gets set to elect new leaders. The prayer by most Nigerians is to have peaceful elections devoid of crisis. The security agencies reassure the nation that they are up to the task of countering decisively any attempt by anyone to conduct themselves in any manner that will likely jeopardise the peace and security of the country. Nigerians believe them.

It is with these assurances that the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), is getting on earnestly with its preparation to hold election in every part of the country. In collaboration with the security agencies and the cooperation of the political gladiators, it hopes to hold peaceful elections even in the crisis-ravaged areas. Commendably enough, the government is doing its utmost to fortify the arrangements being made by both the security agencies and INEC itself. So far, there hasn’t been any complaints regarding logistical support or funding. It is the hope of this newspaper that the role being played by all the arms of government towards fighting insecurity before, during and after the elections will achieve the goal of securing lives and properties.

We may seem to be emphasising the conduct of the elections under the cover of peace and quiet. That is, indeed, deliberate as the outcome of the polls has the capacity, one way or the other, to determine how the nation goes. We are persuaded by our concern for continued existence of Nigeria as one indivisible entity to urge all, especially the political class, to see the election as a sport in which there must be a winner and a loser. If we must accept this time-tested assumption, then the security agencies and the electoral umpire, INEC, must display unwavering neutrality that will encourage Nigerians to go home at the end of it all satisfied that, given the inadequacies usually associated with any human situation, the best for the nation has been achieved.

It is pertinent to point out that the afore-mentioned security challenges were not created by spirits. They are, in all cases, actions conceived, planned and executed by humans for specific devious and ulterior ends that do not conduce to national interest. It is from this perspective that we appeal to the authorities at all levels of government to deploy resources in such a way that criminal elements including those within the political groups are found out and dispassionately neutralised. Nigeria as a country must survive for there to be an election. Politicians and the security agencies owe Nigerians that duty to give them the chance, the peace they seek to contribute not just their quota in the electoral process but also in national development as a whole.


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