The presidential candidates of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore; Action Democratic Party, Yabagi Sani; Social Democratic Party, Adewole Adebayo; and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Mr Peter Umeadi, on Sunday night promised to retool the security architecture to address the insecurity in the country.
They also vowed to adhere to the rule of law and eliminate poverty while focusing on the development of the education sector.
The candidates stated these during the Arisetv town hall for presidential candidates, which was held in Abuja.
The debate was organised in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development and various media organizations.
Stating that the intelligence agencies were not doing enough in the area of intelligence gathering, Sowore said his government would tackle banditry if elected in the 2023 election, noting that fighting banditry and insurgency was not rocket science if intelligent people were in charge of the security agencies.
The ACC candidate alleged that the Department of State Services was not doing enough in terms of tackling the security challenge facing the country.
He said, “I was detained by the DSS for five months. They were there watching BBNaija (reality tv show) instead of collating intelligence, analysing and using that to stop terrorists and bandits. We don’t have a commander-in-Chief of the armed forces as of today. What we have is an arranged system of security in which everybody is doing what he likes. That’s one aspect of it.
The AAC presidential candidate also urged the Nigerian government to resolve the issue of hunger and poverty before deploying guns to stop insecurity.
On his part, the ADP standard bearer, Sani alleged that the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) was presiding over a corrupt government, noting that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited was the linchpin of the graft in the country.
If elected, Sani said no one would be above the law ‘’as corruption will be dealt with, thereby eliminating poverty and improving the security situation in the country.’’
He said, “Take for instance, our security outfits today. Unfortunately, it is lopsided in terms of the leadership that you have in dispute. So, as the next president, I will govern with rule of law and that means that nobody would be above the law.
Sani added that corruption needed to be tackled to boost the economy in the areas of energy transition, climate change and information technology.
The SDP candidate, Adebayo advised politicians against using the security agencies to fight political battles, adding that the lack of proper security architecture had continued to threaten national security.
Adebayo at the presidential debate observed that the country had made a number of mistakes with respect to public safety.
He stated, “We must stop using security to fight political battles. First as Commander-in-Chief, I am the one to bring you the notice of violation to the people; I’m in charge of security for God’s sake. The first thing we need to know is that the political elites are very good with scare- mongering.
“What we need to understand is that the insecurity in this country stays and starts from the (Presidential) villa by everything you see outside if you put a proper Commander-in-Chief in place, and they’re not using security as a way to compensate people. They’re managing security architecture. Well, what we’ll call big crimes that are very minimal.”
The APGA candidate, Umeadi said he would be directly involved in the affairs of the country if elected President in 2023.
Umeadi wondered why the President would want to delegate powers rather rather than getting involved in the work.
He noted, “If I’m President, I’ll infuse myself into the work, and get things done directly. It’s about discipline, structure of security, but most importantly, it’s about leadership. A president has to be in direct contact with all that is happening in the country.”
He added that it was not right for people to always shift blame in Nigeria, adding that that is especially not what should be expected of a Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“As a Commander-in-Chief, I want results. I do not know why a policeman would run away from an armed robber; the armed robber should not be more or better armed than the police.
“These are the issues, hence we have to make sure that the state prevails. We need to tackle security squarely by being sincere,’’ he stated.