On the 23rd of May 2022, I was the anchor at the Civil-Military Summit on Security & Elections with theme: 'Securing the electoral process, infrastructure & integrity in Nigeria through civil-military cooperation (CIMICO): 2023 in focus'. The convener of the summit was Engr. Adams Otakwu.
In his opening address, the Convener, Engr. Adams Otakwu called attention to the fact that the Summit was a follow-up to the inaugural conference of CIMICO held between the 28th and 30th of March 'to foster civil-military cooperation and galvanise the entire citizenry to own, work together and win the war on insecurity. CIMICO is a all-encompassing initiative to protect national interest, security and assets, including elections.'
Adams reminded the audience that elections in Nigeria in the post-independence era have more often than not, been marred by various degrees of violent confrontation in the build-up,during elections and the immediate post election period. A stable and sovereign country must be in place in the first instance before anyone can freely canvass for votes, conduct or win elections...
Three major topics were discussed:
*Towards the 2023 elections in Nigeria: Preparedness & challenges - ACP N.A. Sabo (Repesentative of the I.G. of Police)
*Quality assurance & integrity of the 2023 elections: The role of citizens & stakeholders - Auwal Rafsanjani, ED, Civil Society Legislative & Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) & Chair BOT Amnesty International/Member Transparency International
*Safeguarding elections from foreign interference - Prof. Godswill Nnaji, 1st Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC)
Some of the participants are:
*Dame Pauline Tallen - Minister of Women Affairs
*Major-General M.A. Alkali - Representative of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakub
*Barr. Mohammed Abubakar - Former Governor, Bauchi state
*Samuel Victor Makwe, Nigeria's Permanent Mission to ECOWAS - Representative of H.E. Amb Musa Sani Nuhu, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS
*Engr. Comrade Adams Otakwu - Engineer/Convener
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist & Former Director, IPCR, Abuja/Anchor
*Amb. Gabriel Aduda - Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
*ACP N.A. Sabo - Representative of the IG of Police
*Col. Melvin Usman (Rtd) - Special Adviser to the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, on Strategic Security
*Agrih Dauda Sukukum - Representative of the DG, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Gabriel Abari/
*Assistant Corps Marshall - Representative of the Corps Marshall Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)
*Dahiru Isan Goronyo - Representative of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of defense
*Col p. Elayo, Deputy Director, Civil Sponsorship Desk, Civil-Military Affairs, Dept. of Civil Affairs, Army HQs
*Col. T.O. Bukoye - Director, Special Forces Operations, Nigeria Army HQs
*Ms. Ene Ede - Development Programming Strategist
*Peace Corps of Nigeria
*Sowo Smart - Centre for Prison Reforms & Inmates' Rights (CENPRIR)
*Amb. Richards Amanze - Whistle Blowers Anti-Corruption Reporting Network
Some of the issues addressed by various speakers were:
-Prebendalism (money politics) and its negative effects on election outcomes in Nigeria.
-The need for collaboration between/among the armed forces before, during and after the elections.
-Desperation of candidates could affect the quality of elections.
-Protection of voters.
-Negative effect of 'hate speech' in elections.
-Our elections need to be safeguarded against foreign interference.
-CIMICO need to intensify grassroots mobilisation towards elections.
It was indeed a fruitful summit that added a distinct voice to the on-going discourse on electoral integrity...