Elections have always been the Achilles hill of Nigeria’s democratic failure and offspring of violent revolt. Election gives every Nigerian goose pimples and makes all the political gladiators to be very edgy.
Since independence, there is no election conducted in the country that has not attracted violence and spate of disagreements among political parties. In most cases, it is either armed Mobile police men or Soldiers dispatched to quell violent demonstrations that usually lead to the death of innocent citizens with an evident number of properties both moveable and unmoveable destroyed.
In many instances, these political disagreements spirals into legal confrontations and intense battles that are unending.
The international community have always looked down on the country as incapable of conducting a free, fair, peaceful, credible and acceptable election at every level of governance, despite their avowed interest to ensure transparent and free election.
There was a time in the annals of the country when one of the elections which was largely accepted as the freest, was surprisingly annulled by a military rulers. This further worsen the global image of the country. Here is a country that has also been battling with the bad image of corruption and bad leadership. In all of these anomalies, the political class and the electoral body were always at the top to receive blames for their corrupt and fraudulent dispositions. Ballot boxes snatched, smuggled and exchanged, ballot boxes being stolen and stuffed with fake ballot papers. Fake fingerprinting of voters cards and falsification of result sheets from ward level to collation centres. The fraud were gangatum. On the other hand, the Nigeria police was not left out of the election fraud and blame as some of their past leaders were later found to be culpable with many of their subordinates. The adage that there is always a time for a swift change and the time came when in 2011, Jonathan Goodluck was to contest on the latform of the People Democratic Party (PDP) as it’s flag bearer. Jonathan had informed and pledged to Nigerians that he would do everything within his power to ensure a free and credible elections adding that the government would give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) all necessary support to conduct a credible election. Although that election was fraught with some malpractices nonetheless, it was adjudged as an acceptable credible election in the country and there was hope that INEC was going to improve on the noticeable lapses. Then the President appointed a police officer of Steiner stuff in the person of Muhammed Abubakar as the Inspector General of Police. With his appointment, Abubakar has left no one in doubt of his capability in wanting to completely reform the Nigeria police and reposition the once derided security institution into a better institution.
Then came the Anambra state gubernatorial election which many believed would be a water shed in the history of electioneering in the country. One officer who was singled out to be in charge of the security in the Anambra state election was Assitant Inspector General of Police Ballah Magaji Nasarawa a first class sociology graduate of Bayero University and a double Masters degree holder in both International Affairs and Diplomacy cum Law Enforcement and criminal justice. The appointment of Nasarawa as police anchorman for elections has further brought to the fore the fine quality of officers like him in the force. Good Leaders know the qualities imbedded in thier subordinates. The president as the Commander-in-Chief painstakingly searched through the police hierarchy list and picked a unique officer like MD Abubakar to head the Nigeria police force and he in turn picked AIG Nasarawa a refined police officer, who over the years is known for his outstanding disciplinary disposition. According to journalists that covered the Ekiti election, described AIG Nasarawa as an outstanding police officer whose understanding of security issues rank him high. After his wonderful handling of the Anambra state election, AIG Nasarawa recent recorded success in Ekiti can be a progression on his past experience in providing security during elections. His understanding of elections was better exhibited at the recent gubernatorial election in Ekiti. In his, address to the people of Ekiti before the election, AIG Nasarawa said “Nigeria Police Force will leave no stone unturned, in ensuring a very credible, peaceful, crisis-free and widely acceptable Gubernatorial election in the state. Interestingly after the election, he told the media “Now that the election has been officially concluded and results announced by INEC, it is gratifying to note that these results were largely accepted, even by the major gladiators of the process. However, I wish to advise in the interest of the general public, that if any one, group of people or Political Party have any grievances or objections to the conduct of the election, such complaints should be channelled to the appropriate quarters.” The joy of any leader is to achieve Sucess in thier endeavour. The Ekiti election is another milestone and a glowing tribute to the Nigeria police force and other security agencies for a commendable conduct of the election that has helped to further polish the image of the country by glorifying it in international community.
Today, another son of Nasarawa is the lnspector General of police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu whose appointment is coming on the heels of an election. This is one election that has attracted the attention of the world to the country,especially the major actors and the Nigeria police. This is the time that the police should further shove up its image before Nigerians and the international community. By restoring its pride and adequately providing the needed security during all the forth coming elections and be apolitical.
Election Security Tips
•Report any electoral malpractices and misconducts among security personnels wand politicians, to these security agencies hot lines.
DSS: 07055655591/ 09030002189 or email (dss.gov.ng)
Police: Abuja (FCT)-08037002990
Civil Defense: 08036171885/ 07030647190/ 08036223627/ 08034984016/ 08033711199.