President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Owerri, charged the Nigeria Police Force to perfect operational plans that will guarantee a credible outcome in the 2023 general elections while remaining apolitical, firm, and loyal to democratic values.
The President declared open the three-day conference and retreat for senior police officers and directed the police to review the current and evolving internal security threats as they may impact peaceful and successful elections.
In a statement released by his senior special adviser on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari was quoted to have said, “As I have often observed, elections are local, and it is only when the votes truly count that the faith of the citizens in the democratic process can be demonstrated and government legitimacy assured.
“This can best be guaranteed through well-policed election and security operations that are impartial, firm, and professional.
“This is what, on this day and occasion, I charge the Nigeria Police Force to deliver to the nation during the 2023 General Elections.
“I, therefore, task the Inspector General of Police to sustain his leadership standards that will guarantee a level playing field and secure public space for the citizens to freely exercise their franchise, and for the outcome of the elections to be a true reflection of the people’s choices,’’ he said.
President Buhari also used the occasion to restate his commitment to entrenching a process of free, fair, transparent, and credible elections through which Nigerians elect leaders of their choice.
Declaring that his administration has prioritised critical reforms in the NPF to reposition it to effectively fulfil its internal security and democratic governance mandates in conjunction with the Independent National Electoral Commission and other strategic agencies in the electoral process. He listed some achievements recorded towards entrenching an effective policing system and a credible electoral process.
President Buhari commended Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State for her exemplary support to the Federal Government on security governance, further exemplified by hosting the police event themed, ‘’The Imperative of a Nigeria Police Strategic Plan for Peaceful Elections.’’
Governor Uzodinma called on the police to ensure that the Strategic Plan for the 2023 General Elections should make it mandatory for all candidates to undertake an oath denouncing electoral violence.
In his remarks, the Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Baba, assured the President and Nigerians that the force would draw on the outcome of the conference to perfect its election security strategy and action plans towards stabilising the security and political landscape in the country.