Nigeria is preparing for its general elections and like an adage that says: “a war with a set date, does not consume a cripple”, the security agencies are preparing ahead.
Seven major issues were discussed at the meeting.
1. Deployment Of Security Personnel
The huge deployment of security personnel in elections in Nigeria have come to stay and it was the first thing that was discussed at the meeting.
The meeting agreed that adequate deployment of security agencies to the states would enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conduct peaceful elections.
One thing the Defence Minister believes is that the deployment of security personnel would further douse the tension that had come up after primary elections of different political parties.
It will also stop some desperate persons from sabotaging the electoral process, the meeting agreed.
So, expect huge deployment of security personnel.
2. Pressure on INEC
The Minister said President Buhari and the Security Chiefs also discussed an attempt by some notable personalities to put pressure on INEC through demonstrations.
Identifying the possibility of such situation coming up in 2019, security chiefs promised to do their best through combined efforts of security agencies to ensure that the electoral process would not be hijacked in any state by hoodlums or armed bandits.
3. Post-election Violence
Nigeria has seen post-election violence. The last major one occurred in 2011 after President Buhari lost the presidential election to Goodluck Jonathan.
The security chiefs discussed the need to prevent “desperate politicians” from whipping up ethno-religious sentiments to create a security situation in Nigeria should they lose elections.
4. Proliferation Of Weapons
Communities in Nigeria have seen attacks by herdsmen, farmers, people now referred to as bandits, Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists and most of these attacks were carried out with guns.
The meeting also discussed the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some persons the Minister referred to as ‘disgruntled elements’ with a desire to take laws into their hands at the slightest opportunity.
5. Ensuring A Hitch-free 2019 Election
If there is anything the Nigerian government wants to ensure, it is a hitch-free general election.
Nigeria’s democracy is still young and growing it will require a consistent conduct of hitch-free elections that are credible, free and fair.
So, the meeting looked at what to do to make the 2019 elections hitch-free.
6. Continuous Sensitisation Of Nigerians
One agency of the government got a task in the course of the meeting. It is the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which was asked to ensure continuous sensitisation of Nigerians ahead of the election to ensure that electorates got the necessary information the need to have.
7. Regular Meetings Of Relevant Bodies
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the meeting discussed the need for regular meetings of relevant individuals and groups, including INEC, as well as international and local election observers and the media.
It was a meeting attended by the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Inspector General of Police.
Others at the meeting were the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha; and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd).
The Chief of Defence Staff was absent.