KEBBI POLICE PRESS RELEASE ON ELECTION, SECURITY MANAGEMENT MEETING FOR ELECTIONEERING CAMPAIGNS, THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS WITH CRITICAL STAKEHOLDERS


SPEECH BY THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, KEBBI STATE COMMAND, CP AHMED MAGAJI KONTAGORA DURING ELECTION AND SECURITY MANAGEMENT MEETING FOR ELECTIONEERING CAMPAIGNS AND THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS WITH CRITICAL STAKEHOLDERS AT KEBBI STATE POLICE HEADQUARTERS, GWADANGAJI, BIRNIN KEBBI, ON 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2022

Protocol

Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen.

I am highly delighted and honoured to welcome you all to this interactive meeting, i.e Election and Security Management, with a focus on the electioneering campaigns and the 2023 general elections. As attested to by many studies and analysis today, election is a major trigger of violence in Africa. But with the caliber of critical stakeholders that are here present today to discuss initiatives and ways of reducing election related violence, is a testimony of the importance you attached to the subject matter.


However, it is important at this juncture to analyze the root causes of electoral violence and to examine best practices towards preventing its occurrences and ensuring peaceful conduct of electioneering campaigns and the 2023 general elections in Kebbi State. The overall objective of this gathering is to strengthen democratic institutions and structures that are considered critical to the enhancement of the integrity of the forthcoming 2023 general electoral process.

Distinguished guests, the wisdom behind inviting you to this important meeting is simply to talk to each other and to agree on how to manage the expected political competitions and conflicts in a peaceful manner. It is also to discuss on how to provide all the required level playing ground for all political gladiators to play the game in accordance with the laid down rules and decorum, especially as campaign activities are around the corner. This forum is indeed a child of necessity, as we all know that, whenever we allow any part of the electoral processes to fail as a result of our inaction, the outcome of the election will be violence.

As you are all aware, by section 94 (1)of the Electoral Act 2022, electioneering campaigns by all Political Parties would officially commence on the 28th September, 2022, for the Presidential and National Assembly while that of the Governorship and State House of Assembly to also commence on the 12th October, 2022. This means that, the national political space has been opened and the possibility of recording politically related offences across the state is glaring.


The Police, as the lead security agency in the election security processes, has the statutory obligation to ensure the maintenance of security, law and order, with the active support of the relevant security agencies. It is in this regard that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba psc(+), NPM, Fdc summoned all the Police strategic Commanders across the country where he reaffirmed the mandates and responsibilities of the Force during this period.

In the same vain, the IGP had directed all the Commissioners of Police to liaise with the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners and the leadership of all political parties to develop a mutually agreed campaigns time table that will address possible conflicts in terms of date, time and venue of their activities. It was accordingly emphasized that all security agencies, in the performance of this strategic responsibility, must be guided by the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, the Penal Code and Rules of Engagement for Security Personnel on election duty which was issued in 2020 by the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

A central study of these election security instruments therefore grouped the mandate of the Police under four (4) Key Pillars as follows:


1. Ensuring the safety and security of all persons and property that will be involved in the entire electoral process without bias;

2. Strict enforcement of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Penal Code as well as the Electoral Laws without fear or favour;

3. Security, Traffic and Crowd management at venues of political party campaigns, rallies and other activities relating to the elections; and 

4. The security of the public space towards guaranteeing a crime free and enabling environment for the political campaigns and other components of the electoral processes to thrive. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me be categorically clear on this note that, the Nigeria Police Force in the performance of these roles will maintain an Oath of neutrality in accordance with the Electoral Act. The Police will always be more careful during electoral security deployments, exhibit a high degree of professionalism and fairness in our dealings with all parties. In view of that, all security agencies are also expected to adopt a professional orientation that encompasses democratic values, respect for human rights and dignity, while being mindful of the duty imposed on us by the law to protect all electorates against illegal acts and dispense our duties without discrimination. This further explained what constitute one of the main concept of this gathering today, which is the peace of agreement architecture.

The peace agreement architecture is one of the imperatives and first phase in the electoral cycle, while second cycle generally begins with commencement of campaigns and end with the polling itself. It’s success depends on all stakeholders, electoral commission, the Judiciary, political parties, security agencies and the voters. 

On this note, I congratulate the electoral commission for its successful actions so far. I want to also encourage the commission to further intensify its efforts particularly in relation to the timely release of its corporate communications as well as their critical elements going forward. At this juncture, I urged political parties too to constantly and publicly reaffirm their commitment to a fair process and to desist from attacks on personalities and focus on relevant issues. Primarily, election campaigns should be seen as an opportunity to debate issues and perspectives instead of trading words or dishing out hate speeches.

Similarly, let me reiterate the IGP’s directive while emphasizing the fact that, all quasi-security outfits established by various state government and local communities operating under difference nomenclatures, structures and orientations have no legal roles under the electoral Act and in the electoral process. The IGP has therefore directed all Police managers at strategic, operational and tactical levels to ensure they are not utilized by political or community actors for any role during the electioneering campaigns and other electoral processes. As such, their participation would amount to an illegality, a threat to national security and inimical to the nation’s democratic interest.


At this point, I want to remind all political parties to resort to legal channels in order to address any grievances as prescribed by the law. Equally, political parties and their candidates should not cease to publicly declare their firm commitment to abiding by the verdict of the polls. I know that, the views I am proffering here are being shared by members of the civil societies, religious and traditional leaders. However, it is their neutrality that will allow them to act as a link between the politicians and its society, so that, pursuit of political objectives does not create social or religious implores to the point of pitting groups against one another. 

In order to accomplish this, political parties must know that, they have a primary role in educating their supporters to promote peace, dialogue and consensus. The electoral commission, the Judiciary and other institutions concerned must be strengthened to the accomplishment of their mission and in the neutrality of their task. I commend civil society, religious and traditional leaders for their important roles in this national assignment.

  Gentlemen from the media, in this period, your actions are important as well as delicate. Your responsibility for the success of the entire process cannot be underestimated. As you are keenly aware, whenever you publish information or make statement of facts, please be guided by your professionalism. You are the guardian of truth for the people and not allow yourself to be manipulated by any other interest. In this crucial roles, be aware of the pernicious effects of promoting subversive declaration and counter declarations. 


At this juncture, I want to call on the political leaders to show restraints when communicating through the media while respecting the right to information and the important work of journalists.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my hope that you have found some perspective helpful to further identify ways in ensuring peaceful conduct of the 2023 electoral processes.

Thank you very much for your rapt attention and God bless.

CP AHMED MAGAJI KONTAGORA,

COMMISSIONER OF POLICE,

KEBBI STATE COMMAND.0020

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