The National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, has declared that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has no favoured candidates in next month’s off-season governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states.
Ribadu made the declaration on Friday while speaking with newsmen after a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security comprising the Independent National Electoral Commission and the service chiefs.
Ribadu, who noted that the November election would be the first to be conducted on Tinubu’s watch, said his principal was determined to conduct free and transparent elections.
He said: “We are prepared and will be with you 100 percent and will work to meet the standard that you want us to meet. There is nothing as important as free and fair election in a democracy. This government is interested in that and Mr President has directed that he wants to see a free, fair and credible election. This is the first election that is going to be held under his watch.
“He said everything possible should be done to ensure that Nigerians witness free and fair elections. I want to assure Nigerians that these elections will be better than the previous ones. These elections are going to be without violence and a litmus test for us.”
The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, revealed that certain candidates planning to instigate violence during and after the elections are under security watch and would be dealt with except they shelve their plot.
Egbetokun said: “We have just concluded the ICCES meeting with INEC. These elections are off-season elections and we are committed to making them free and fair elections. The security agencies are ready for these elections. We have received all necessary information from INEC which has informed us where to deploy to during these elections.
“We have carried out our threat assessment and that has informed us where to allocate our resources and the deployment of our men. All the security agencies are collaborating seriously to ensure that these elections are violence-free.
“My appeal to people who want to come out and make trouble during these elections is for them to stay away from the elections because there will be no place for them to operate.
“We are aware of mobilisation by supporters of some candidates. We are already monitoring them and we are ready for them during these elections. I appeal to those who just want to come out and disrupt these elections to stay away.
“I appeal to the electorate to come out en masse to cast their votes during these elections. We are committed to a peaceful election and there is no going back on that.”
The IGP, who said the security agencies took a position on volatile zones, was however silent on deployment.
“We have our figures and we are not going to make it public. We have given the detail of deployment at the meeting, but it is not for the media.
“All the states have challenges and we are taking care of the challenges,” he said.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant-General Chris Musa, offered a clarification that other security agencies would only be on ground to assist the police to deliver credible elections.
He said: “We are here fully to show collaboration, cooperation and support for the police who are the lead agency in election security.
“The armed forces are going to provide full, comprehensive support to ensure that the police are able to do their job without any interference.”