2011: Nigerians Sensitized On Electoral Reform


The Obafemi Awolowo Institute of Government and Public Policy, OAIGPP, recently held  a public lecture on the need to enlighten and sensitise the electorate on governance  and civil responsibility.

The chairman of Board of Trusteees of the Institute, Chief Bisi Akande, explained  that the enlightenment became necessary to avert the electoral debacle of 2007,  which exposed the country to mockery in the comity of nations.

Delivering a lecture on “Security Institution  and Electoral Reforms,” the guest  speaker, former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, asked Nigerians  to recognise and learn to defend their electoral rights, stressing that there can  only be free and fair elections when voters insist on electoral sanity.

He said the current size of the police and its poor funding by the Federal  Government may undermine effective policing of the electioneering process.

He called for the review of the level of preparedness of the security agencies, in  view of the relationship between effective security and conduct of free and fair  elections.

He said, although the police carry out major security responsibility during  elections, its performance is retarded by logistic problems.

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“With a staff strength that is still under 500,000, specialist inclusive to cover,  at least, 120,000 polling stations and annual poor funding that makes it impossible  to provide officers and men with attractive and motivating service condition and  necessary logistics in the right quantity and quality, it will be sheer wishful  thinking to expect effective performance.

“Other security agencies that normally collaborate with the police to provide  security for our elections also experience similar problems,” Smith stressed.

He established a connection between poor elections and police inadequacies, pointing  out that as electoral offences and violence loomed, police were not in a better  position to bring the perpetrators and their sponsors to book.

Smith maintained that, unless the Federal Government fulfill its promise to  transform the police into a professional, highly motivated, well trained and  adequately equipped force, policemen on electoral duty next year would still be  handicapped.

“For 2011 elections, immediate measures should be taken to re-organise and empower  the security institutions to ensure they are well prepared and positioned for the  challenges ahead,” he advised.

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