Insists the Military has no Business with Elections.
By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: As the new date for the 2019 general elections draw near, the Election Analysis Centre[EAC] of the Centre for Democracy and Development [CDD], has kicked against the use of military in the polls.
This is just as the Centre, insisted that the Military has no business whatsoever, being part of the elections.
Speaking on Thursday at a media briefing in Abuja, the Director, CDD, Idayat Hassan, maintained that the places where the military is allowed to operate is in some parts of the northeast as well as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps where they had been early deployed to provide security.
She, further explained that the morale of voters in the 2019 election is extremely low, adding that using security in the polls will lead to a further decline in voter turnout.
According to her, “We remain insistent on the fact that security, in particular the military should not be a part of the election, except where they had been previously deployed especially the states suffering from insurgency.
“We are certain on the fact that the morale of the Nigerian voter is very low, extremely low in the elections and when you then heighten security and start talking about securitization of election, it will lead to decline in voter turnout”, she said.
Hassan, also insisted that there is nothing like capital punishment when it comes to electoral offenses, adding that the laws are quite clear.
“Electoral offenders are either liable to two years imprisonment, N500,000, a maximum of three years and there is nothing that suggests shooting on sight or any thing, it even goes against the rule of engagement”, she added.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had, at the caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja on Monday, said security agencies had been given the go-ahead to “deal ruthlessly” with ballot box snatchers, warning that anyone who engages in ballot box snatching during the rescheduled elections does so “at his own expense”.
Earlier, the Chair, CDD Election Analysis Centre, Prof. Adele Jinadu, noted that despite INEC claims of distributing sensitive materials to all the geopolitical zones, there have been reports of missing and misplaced sensitive materials, stressing that INEC must ensure that all missing materials are rerouted before Saturday, to avoid short falls or hitches.
While noting that there is some evidence of worry nationwide on whether elections will hold on Saturday 23, 2019, he expressed hopes that INEC will conduct hitch free elections.
On her part, Dr. Olajumoke Yacob-Haliso of the EAC, while speaking on issues surrounding the ad hoc staff, expressed worry over the quality of some of the staff which she said might likely constitute a challenge in the elections.
Yacob-Haliso, implored INEC to prioritize the retraining of ad hoc staff that has been scheduled for Friday, February 22, 2019 across the nation, adding also that INEC must provide sufficient security for the ad hoc staff especially the youth corps members most of whom are unfamiliar with the areas they have been posted to.
Furthermore, the Election Analysis Centre(EAC) recommended that; INEC must address the status of the payment of last week duty of ad hoc staff to avoid staff shortage; Review security plans for volatile states such as Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Zamfara; Avoid undue deployment of excessive security during the elections and security officers must remain non-partisan and non-threatening at their duties.
Also, they recommended that; The police should refrain from redeploying their personnel few days into the elections; INEC and all relevant stakeholders must engage in voter mobilization; INEC should increase its confidence building measures, particularly at the state levels
They also; Enjoined media and civil society organisations to remain vigilant and observe all deployment processes without partisanship; Called on political stakeholders to take and make peace, and implored the youth to shun violence.