Virtual Panel Discussions on Security Management ahead of the Ekiti Elections
Following the successful conduct and public presentation of the Ekiti State Security Threat Assessment (STA) Findings, as part of its efforts to contribute to the management of the public safety and security of citizens during the forthcoming Ekiti State elections, the CLEEN Foundation hosted two virtual panel discussions aimed at addressing emerging security and sociology-political issues in the state that could impact negatively on the overall architecture of the Security Management framework for the Ekiti State governorship election which is slated to hold on the 18th of June 2022.
Prof. C. T. Oluwadare, the Chairman of the Coalition of Ekiti State Civil Society Organizations and Mrs. Rita Ilevbare Esq. contributed to these robust introductory and preliminary discussions that held on Friday, 20th May 2022, setting the agenda for the conversations.
On Thursday the 26th of May 2022, the second virtual discussion themed, “Role of Key Stakeholders in Election Security Management for the 2022 Ekiti Governorship Election” had Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejuwon, the Oisan of Isan-Ekiti and Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers Ekiti State; CP Moronkeji O. Adesina, Psc. CP Ekiti State represented by ACP Patrick Daaor, Mr. Afolabi Tolulope, Public Relations Officers of NSCDC, Ekiti State Command and Dr. Tella Adeniran Rahman, the INEC REC Ekiti State in attendance.
From the deliberations, the Police representative stated that they had done some key threat assessment and had planned for the deployment of their men to the red zones to ensure safety of lives during the election. He also stated that security arrangements are made for all political parties during rallies and so far, had not encountered any serious challenges. He also highlighted that a key success of their efforts so far is the buy-in of all relevant stakeholders and expressed commitment to adhere to the rule of law during elections.
The PRO of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps explained that operational guidelines to coordinate the activities of the security agencies have been established. According to him, the situation of the environment will determine the type of deployment strategy to deploy, however, he assured Ekiti residents that they were prepared to ensure their safety during the elections.
The Police representative, however, noted a gap in the new Electoral Act— the failure to expressly specify the security agency saddled with responsibility of effecting the arrest of electoral offenders. He went on to explain that this omission notwithstanding, the Ekiti State Police Command will rely on its constitutional duty to arrest to ensure that electoral offenders are arrested and prosecuted. Towing the same line, Prof Christopher, in his intervention, also stated that Police has a constitutional obligation to arrest persons caught in the act of any electoral malpractice.
At the end of the two panel discussions the following outcomes were recorded:
- The Oba Onisan Ekiti, reaffirmed his commitment and those of the Traditional chiefs under him to hold accountable all relevant state and non-state actors to their commitment to the conduct of Peaceful elections.
- He also spoke of his commitment to mobilize citizen and educate them on the need for their increased participation in the election and ensure that politicians and their supporters are deterred from disrupting the peace of Ekiti State.
- The representatives of the security agencies present also assured Ekiti residents and stakeholders present of their commitment and preparedness to deescalate all security threats and ensure the safety of lives and properties before, during and after the elections
Summarily, going by the outcomes recorded from this exercise, primarily, the now reaffirmed commitment from all is to do all that is necessary to ensure the peaceful conduct of elections from all relevant stakeholders. The foundation is hopeful that with this positive development, Residents of Ekiti would take advantage of these fact-based assurances by engaging fully in the forthcoming Ekiti Governorship elections, and must conduct themselves in a manner that doesn’t compromise their safety and those of others, bearing in mind that the management of public safety and security is the responsibility of all-—citizens, government and security agencies alike.