Clement Nwankwo, the Convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, has reacted to the military’s involvement in the electoral process.
It was alleged that the military was closer to the polling booths than being in strategic centres far away from polling units in states like Rivers and Akwa Ibom to mention a few.
Nwankwo, who noted this development poses a threat to Nigeria’s democracy said if the military would not take directives from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), they should not participate in the electoral process.
Nwankwo stated this on Saturday when he featured a guest on The Verdict, Channels Television’s special broadcast on the ongoing state elections.
Going back the memory lane where Nigeria went through 13 years of military dictatorship, he said the country is now at the point where for the first time since 1999, the army is playing such an incredibly direct role in our elections.
He added that even when General Abdulsalami Abubakar conducted elections as Head of State in 1999, the country did not have the military used in the way it is being used today.
“This is destroying our democracy; this is not the democracy that we saw when we went to vote in 2015 or in 2011,” he stated.
Speaking on the abduction of some INEC officials amidst security presence, Nwankwo cited Anambra State as an example in the last presidential election, where the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) was abducted for some time and election officials are being abducted as well, and security services are refusing to carry out directives from the electoral commission to help accompany electoral materials to locations.
He further pointed out that if Nigeria has to survive and democracy has to survive, then the country must take a stand on what to do about military involvement in elections.
“If the military is not able to take directives from INEC, the law should be amended to ensure they are immediately removed from involvement in any way in elections,” he said.