Just thirty two days to the Anambra governorship election and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is expressing concerns for the safety of voters and Election Day staff, including security officials who they say have also become targets of attacks in recent times.
The National Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu who expressed the worry at an emergency meeting of the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, ICCES, noted that the Commission intends to deploy thousands of Nigerians for the election, most of them National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and university students, and as such, needs to be reassured of their personal safety.
He stressed that deployment for the election will involve the movement of huge consignments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the over six thousand locations making up the Wards, or Registration Areas, and Polling Units including about twenty six thousand officials that must be protected hence the need to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge of securing the Anambra Governorship election.
According to the Chairman, it is particularly worrisome that security agencies have become prime target in spite of the fact that their challenges do not entail only securing the electoral process, but also enforcing law and order.
He said that in the light of the recent and seemingly escalating threats to the election, the Commission will continue to work with security agencies and in consultation with respected opinion leaders in Anambra State and the National Peace Committee to ensure that the attacks which he termed hit-and-run do not derail the electoral process.
Professor Yakubu, assured ndi Anambra that the Commission is determined to proceed with the election as scheduled and will in the next two days, implement the remaining two activities on the scheduled timetable for the election.
In his speech, the National Security Adviser, represented by Sanusi Galadima, said that
the Federal Government is committed to the protection of lives and property of all law abiding citizens before, during and after the elections, and called on all peace loving Nigerians of the South-East extraction to join hands with constituted authority to promote peace and development across the region and beyond.
He noted that the federal government is working assiduously with relevant security and intelligence agencies towards arresting the security challenges in the country and in the South-East in particular saying that the recent joint Military operation code-named “Golden Dawn” in the South-East as well as other security operations across the country is aimed at increasing collaboration between the federal and South-East Governors towards addressing the underlying socio economic drivers of insecurity in the region and beyond.