The indispensability of adequate security to the conduct of free and credible elections in Nigeria was underscored at a training programme put together by The Electoral Institute (TEI) for a broad spectrum of personnel from various security agencies in Nigeria, which kicked off on 25th October in Anambra State.
The programme is the latest in the series of capacity development workshops rolled out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the last several weeks, as part of preparations for the state’s governorship election slated for 18th November.
Beneficiaries include personnel from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Army (NA), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
The state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Nkwachukwu Orji who declared the workshop open, implored the participants to take cognizance of the state’s intellectual, political and cultural heritage and act above board.
In his welcome remarks, Acting Director General, TEI, Dr Sa’ad Idris affirmed: “Security is indispensable to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections. From the provision of basic security to voters at political party rallies and campaigns, to ensuring that result forms are protected, the whole electoral process is defined by security considerations, especially in view of the number of election personnel involved, election materials that need to be moved, difficulty of the terrain to be traversed as well as the polling locations that need to be protected.
“Security is critical in: protecting electoral personnel, locations and processes; ensuring that voters exercise their civic duties without fear or hindrance; creating a level playing field for all political parties and candidates to canvass for support; protecting domestic and foreign observers while discharging their duties and obligations and maintaining the overall integrity of the democratic and electoral processes.”
He added: “Adequate security ensures the free movement of electoral staff, voters, candidates, observers and other stakeholders on Election Day, which in turn adds to the credibility of the electoral process. It is also an important pre-condition for the deployment of sensitive materials to polling units/stations and increases the level of participation of voters in an election.
“This training is intended to diversify your knowledge and capacity as well as equip you to deliver electoral security services as professionals highlighting the link between security and human rights issues as it relates to elections. It will provide you with an understanding of key security procedures required to ensure safety of election officials on election duties and equip you with skill sets that would enable you balance the imperative of securing the electoral process with the need to allow voters unfettered opportunity to come out and cast their votes without fear or intimidation as a result of the presence of security personnel.”