BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd) has rated the conduct of the November 16, 2019 Governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states as far below expected and acceptable standards.
Monguno, who made his position on the elections known at an Inter-Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), meeting in Abuja, noted that in spite of assurances of adequate security before the elections, the processes and the fiasco that took place were such that were unthinkable, yet they happened.
The NSA however did give details of what he considered the unthinkable things that happened.
On the contrary, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, said the elections were peaceful despite noticeable infractions.
Adamu said that 49 persons have so far been arrested with regards to election related violence in the two states, adding that six other persons were arrested in connection with the brutal murder of the Woman Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Late Mrs. Salome Abuh, in Kogi State.
Represented by Mr. Sanusi Galadima, the NSA said that prior to the elections in the two states, the ICCES was told of the level of the preparedness and assured of adequate security.
Monguno further said; “They made promises and told the meeting of the level of their preparedness, but unfortunately, the fiasco was the answer. What happened was quite unthinkable.
“Violence erupted in the two states of Bayelsa and Kogi, particularly the violence that occurred in Kogi State which aftermath of that election led to the death of a woman leader in that state.
“If nothing is done to curtail such violence in future elections, voters might not come out to vote,” the NSA stressed.
Monguno said that for future elections, particularly the by-elections that is expected to come up in January 2020, security agencies and political parties should meet to ensure that the elections re free of violence.
He urged political party thugs to have a rethink, saying that during a book launch in Abuja two days ago, “all the creme de la crème of various political parties, the national chairmen of the strongest political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were all gathered at the venue.
According to him; “I saw how they were embracing each other, laughing, which to my mind, that laughter means a lot: ‘look at the useless people killing themselves because of politics!’
“So, it is our hope and prayer that if all the stakeholders pertaining to any election that would come up in future would come together the issue of violence would be addressed adequately.”
Speaking in turn, the IGP, who was represented by Assistant Inspector General of Police, (AIG), Bashir Makama, said that while 35 persons were arrested in Bayelsa, 14 were arrested in Kogi, for allegedly disrupting the elections.
The IGP said that those arrested in connection with the Bayelsa governorship were being interrogated at the zonal police headquarters in Benin City and would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.
In his own remarks, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that it has become imperative for security personnel on election duty to be identified by their names.
He said; “This is to know who to be held responsible for the proper conduct of elections in those locations. This will not only enhance transparency, but the commission and security agencies will know who to contact in specific locations during elections when the need arises.”