MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
With less than 72 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, a private security practitioner and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Badison Security Limited, Mr. Matthew Ibadin has commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Lucky Irabor and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba Alkali on the state of preparedness of the military and police to ensure a free and fair election.
Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, Ibadin recalled the recent statements attributed to the President and the CDS who at different fora warned of the dire consequences of snatching ballot boxes or causing any breach during the Saturday election.
The President in a trending video wherein he addressed the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus emphatically stated that Nigerians should be free to vote for candidates of their choice across the various political parties.
He had used the occasion to warn that politicians familiar with their localities should not make the mistake of using “body of thugs” to snatch ballot boxes nor disrupt the electoral process as anyone who attempts such would be doing so at the risk of his life.
The Chief of Defense Staff had similarly towed the President’s line two days ago in an interview with journalists when he promised those planning to cause electoral violence that they would have “bloody nose.”
The Badison boss noted that such re-assuring statements were strong enough to deter political hooligans and their paymasters from disrupting the elections even as he called for increase in the number of telephone hotlines to the various states and FCT Abuja.
According to him, given the seriousness attached to the 2023 election by President Buhari who is determined to leave a lasting legacy of free and fair election in Nigeria, telephone Hotlines from the military and police and even the Department of State Service (DSS) to the various states should be increased with each state having a minimum of four Hotlines.
He suggested that Lagos which is currently assigned four Hotlines by the military should have no less than eight Hotlines as its cosmopolitan nature with very large population, calls for more attention.
He suggested that states like Taraba which have only one dedicated Hotline should have no fewer than four Hotlines with each of the three Senatorial District having one and the remaining one left at the State headquarters.
The private security consultant also suggested that even though the Nigeria Police is the lead agency in election security, men of the Nigerian Army should be stationed not too far away from the polling booths particularly in some designated arrears prone to violence. “The army should not stay away far from the polling booths in other to speedily arrest any violent situation police cannot easily cope with given the overwhelming population in a state like Lagos, Kano and River
While advising parents to caution their children from being used as political thugs during the election, he reminded those who have offered to be used as thugs to snatch ballot boxes or cause violence that they stand to lose in the long run as the politicians who hired them would always abandon them after election.
Rhetorically, he asked “how many thugs have ever been invited to the swearing-in ceremony by the politicians who hired them as thugs? No thugs would ever be invited to swearing-in ceremony but rather the children and other family members of the politicians. Therefore, it is advisable that youths should abstain from being used as thugs.”
The Badison Security chieftain also used the opportunity to commend the IGP for his modest achievements since he assumed office, one of which is purchase of heavyweight duty police equipment approved for the headquarters by the President.
While appreciating President Buhari for equipping the police and other security agencies, he urged him to give special extra budgetary allocation to enhance police welfare in terms of transport allowance, housing, barracks renovation etc.
To checkmate the incidence of “imported voters” from neighbouring countries like in previous elections, Ibadin while commending the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on the recent arrest of illegal immigrants with Nigerian voters card, encouraged the NIS authorities to ensure that our land borders are strongly manned to prevent such illegal voters from coming into the country.
The security consultant also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the modest achievements made so towards preparing for the election and giving Nigerians hope of free and fair election.