2019 elections: Civil society gives kudos to Army for securing conduct of polls
A Civil Society Group under the platform of “Impact Africa” on Tuesday hailed the Nigerian Army for securing the conduct of the just concluded 2019 elections, saying that if not, the Nation would have been thrown into crisis by now by desperate politicians.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, the Country Director of Impact Africa, Dr Adams Otakwu, declared that the Nigerian Army provided a secure atmosphere for the conduct of the polls contrary to media reports that the Nation was flooded win Military personnel during the polls.
According to him, “the secured voting atmosphere provided by the Nigerian Army in most of the volatile voting areas enhanced the use of Smart Card Readers.
“INEC was comfortable with the secured atmosphere provided by the Nigerian Army and hence adequately deployed permanent and ad-hoc staff members to respective states and polling centres across the country, with their welfare packages.”
Dr Otakwu explained that the presence of officers and men of the Nigerian Army, under the leadership of Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, in some parts of the country, halted significantly the incident of compromising and inducing INEC staff during the elections.
According to him, “the presence of officers and men of the Nigerian Army forestalled the incidence of violence, kidnap, assault and killings in most parts of the country during the elections.
“The Security provided by the Nigerian Army after the incident of gunfire in neighbouring communities of Maiduguri enabled peaceful conduct of polls in Borno State.
“Despite the attack by insurgents in Geidam area during the elections, the Nigerian Army provided enough security to ensure that elections were held peacefully in Yobe state.
“The secured atmosphere provided by the Nigerian Army halted a violent clash between party agents and INEC officials in some parts of Sokoto State.
“The secured environment provided by the Nigerian Army prevented voter intimidation in Ogbomosho South Local Government Area of Oyo state, where armed touts attempted to force voters to show their ballot papers after voting – an action that would have greatly discouraged several voters from voting.”
While enumerating further the role played by the military in the just concluded elections, the Impart Africa Country Director, added that the presence of the Army significantly prevented the cases of underage voting by 93% in most parts of the country where they were deployed.
According to him, “the presence of officers and men of the Nigerian Army minimized different forms of threats, harassment, intimidation and assault from politicians by 85 per cent
“These attempts by desperate politicians are aimed at undermining the system usually to favour the perpetrators. The Presence of officers and men of the Nigerian Army averted attempts by political thugs to abduct observers in parts of Akwa Ibom state and Shendam Local Government area of Plateau state,” Dr Otakwu.
He pointed out hat the Army foiled the attempt to kidnap INEC officials in Benue, Katsina, Kogi, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Rivers during voting and collation of results, adding that attempts to burn electoral commission’s offices, election materials and ballot papers in parts of Ebonyi state were averted.
According to him, “we wish to reiterate to the African and International Community that the Nigerian Army conducted her affairs in the most professional manner during and after the 2019 Elections in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army upheld human rights issues in relation to security forces’ role in the 2019 elections in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army maintained security objectives and strategy in relation to the 2019 election in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army deployed very high standards of professional, impartial, neutral, and non-intimidating conduct during the 2019 elections in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army employed good contact mechanisms and liaison between the electoral management stakeholders and security forces during the 2019 elections in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army’s involvement in the 2019 Elections in Nigeria started and ended with the provision of a peaceful and secure environment for the conduct of the Elections. In this regards the Army played a very significant role in the peaceful, free, fair and transparent conduct of the 2019 Elections in Nigeria against the spurious allegations from some quotas to discredit the professionalism and ethical standards deployed by the Nigerian Army. We call on all Nigerians to support the Nigerian Army in the discharge of their constitutional duties.”