Foreign Observers: Army’s contribution Guaranteed Credibility of Elections
The fact that the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process was protected and maintained during last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections, was because men and officers of the Nigerian Army (NA) deployed to flashpoints and other parts of the country rose to the occasion and forestalled the outbreak of violence.
The above was the submission of Mr. Bill Campbell, spokesperson of the Independent Foreign Observers/Monitors, at the presentation of the group’s preliminary report on the 2019 general elections.
Before the verdict of the Foreign Monitors, PRNigeria reports that some domestic observers accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission to monitor the 2019 general elections have also scored the electoral body and security agencies high in their handling of last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections. The coalition of 18 local observer groups said the institutions scored over 80% because they did their job professionally.
At Rockview Hotel in Abuja, the foreign observers noted that the combined efforts of the security agencies led by the Army ensured that incidences of ballot box snatching and other electoral vices where significantly curtailed.
Amid palpable tension in the polity, Mr. Campbell said voters still exercise their franchise without anxiety, especially in the Northern parts of the country.
“Unlike in the past where under-age children are recruited to vote, this time around such incidences were not reported by our field observers in Kano and several other Northern states. In the fringes were it was anticipated that there will be security lapses, the Army rose to the occasion and guaranteed the security of lives and properties. However, cases of vote-buying were prevalent in most parts of South-South and South-East,” he stated.
The Diplomat and Conflict Resolution expert, said that their observers also witnessed pockets of violence in some parts of the country, occasioned by the attempts of party agents to snatch ballot boxes.
He disclosed that Rivers State recorded the highest number of violence orchestrated by arms-bearing political thugs, which led to the death of an INEC official, an officer of the Army and scores of people.
Campbell saluted the resilience and courage of the Nigerian electorates for trooping out en masse to perform one of their civic obligations.
He added: “The elections were conducted in an atmosphere of peace, which was brought about by the combined efforts of security agencies who showed resilience in the face of provocation. The Army ensured that the credibility of the electoral process was not undermined as they provided maximum security for lives and properties throughout the elections’ period. Its officers and men conducted themselves professionally and within the ambit of the law, even when provoked by agents of political parties. In Yobe and Borno states, the Army provided water-tight security, which accounted for the large turnout of voters in the region.”
The Independent Foreign Observers/Monitors spokesperson, then commended the leadership of NA for the high-level coordination of its troops around the country, charging it to deploy same strategy during the forthcoming Governorship and State House of Assemblies polls.