Elections without the military will be a disaster, Nigerians insist

By Ayoola Mudasiru March 5, 2015 19:02

Elections without the military will be a disaster, Nigerians insist

Several Nigerians have stated that they would not feel safe going to vote if the Military is not deployed to protect them on Election Day.

Despite several clarifications from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and President Goodluck Jonathan on the role the Military is to play in the forth coming 2015 General Elections, politicians, elite and opposition parties have used the issue to whip up controversy and heat up the polity.

This is despite the fact that the Military has always played a part in previous elections.

After hearing different sides of the argument, Post Nigeria realised that there was a voice that had not been given a say in the debate, and that was of course the voice of the voter.

A Post Nigeria Correspondent took to the streets to ask prospective voters their views on the Military being involved in politics and if they felt safe going to vote without Military presence at strategic locations to serve as a deterrent to the breakout of any form of violence.

Mr. Olorunmaiye Caleb said he would feel safe without the Military, as their presence can be either good or bad.

When it was clarified that the Military would not be at the polling units, he replied that regardless of where they will be stationed, he would feel safe without them.

Mr. Innocent said he wouldn’t feel comfortable voting without the Military but that the Military should be non-partisan.

“I can’t vote without the presence of the Military, especially given the security situation on ground. Even if na my papa go conduct the elections. However, make e be genuine Military,” he said.

According to Mr. Olorunmaiye, the Military are not loyal to the masses but their masters, who he feels are the politicians.

“You go to protest and it’s the Military that teargasses you. The Military teargassed me during Occupy Nigeria. They shot several people in different parts of the country during the same Occupy Nigeria.

“Who are they loyal to? The masses or their pay masters? So whether they are at checkpoints or at polling units, I will feel relatively safe without them,” he said.

Madam Bisi, a public servant, stated plainly that she can’t and won’t feel safe without the Military.

Mr. Jesse, a consultant, who said he had collected his Permanent Voter Card, PVC, and was ready to vote, was of the opinion that Military presence is needed during the elections.

According to him, the safety of the voters was paramount for a successful election.

Mr. Kunle, who said he would be voting in the Southwest, said in his area he would definitely feel safe without the Military present but agreed that the Military was needed in the North, especially the areas which had been reclaimed from the insurgents.

Mr. Rilwan Bello, who will also be voting in the Southwest, said he would feel safe without the Military present but also agreed that they would be needed in certain areas of the North, but not necessarily at the polling units.

“Yes, I will feel safe depending on my location. However, the Military through the use of sound intelligence gathering should identify flash points and then strategically mobilize there, especially in the Northeast!” he said.

Mr. Kassim said he will feel safe without the Military, but that was because in the 2011 election, the Police did very well in maintaining peace in his area.

Beatrice, who said she is yet to get her PVC, but will do so before the deadline, said she wonders why it is even an issue, as the security situation on ground called for the presence of the Military.

“Una no dey see how the country dey? Ehn, even if the Military don dey try win the Boko people, I no dey go vote if me I no safe. Na God dey protect person, but make INEC sef use Military protect voters that day. This matter don pass be careful o,” she opined.

Mr. Amdi agreed that the Military was needed but not in all areas. He said that they will come in handy in areas prone to attacks by the insurgents.

He however argued that it is not a battle, and that in places like the South and East, the Military was not needed. He asked after the use of other agencies such as the NSCDC.

In general, Nigerians believe that the Military is needed in some capacity and not in all areas.

Some of those who did not feel the need for a Military presence were wrongly assuming that they were to be stationed at polling units, but when it was clarified that they were just going to be placed at strategic points and nowhere near polling units, many were okay with it.