All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organisation has said that the idea of having the military chiefs determine when elections will hold is a mockery of democracy, “because the military and democracy are not complementary and subjecting the fate of a democracy to the military is a coup against the people.”
In a statement today, the director of media and publicity for the Campaign Organisation, Garba Shehu appreciated the Nigerian military readiness to deploy troops for the March 28 and April 11 elections but said that its services should be better utilised in other pressing areas, especially in the combat of insurgency and protection of the territorial territory integrity of the country.
Garba Shehu spoke against the background of Wednesday, February 18 assertion to the Senate by National Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega that the military service chiefs will have to ratify the March 28 date for the presidential election in the country and the military’s expression of readiness to deploy troops for the polls.
The APC Campaign said in the press statement signed by Malam Garba Shehu
Garba Shehu wanted INEC to take cognisance of the superior courts’ ruling on the role of the military in elections and the military’s own commitment of its readiness to deploy troops for the 2015 elections.
“The idea of placing the fate of democracy in the hands of the military is not only alien to the Nigerian constitution; extant judicial pronouncements have clearly stipulated that the military has no duty to play in the conduct of elections.
“We are not comfortable with any attempt to draft the military into election function and are reassured by the declaration by President Jonathan that the elections would hold as scheduled by INEC on March 28 and April 11.
“We have carefully studied positions made by the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday and we want to put it on record that we are not in any way comfortable with the idea that the military service chiefs will determine whether the March 28 date of the presidential election is feasible or not.
“The concepts of democracy and the military are never complementary, and to say that the military will determine when an election will hold is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. It is akin to a coup against the people of Nigeria to subject the fate of our democracy in the hands of a few military service chiefs.
“For the avoidance of any doubts, the APC presidential campaign organisation will not accept any attempt to subvert the electoral processes of democracy in the country.”
Garba Shehu made it clear that Nigerian constitution is very clear about how the electoral processes in the country should be run and that there is no single clause of the constitution that makes the military service chiefs to preside over the conduct of elections.
He said that there are extant judicial pronouncements specifically at two Courts of Appeal, the recent being that on the Ekiti governorship election that bars the military from undertaking any role whatsoever in the conduct of elections in the country.
These, according to the director of media and publicity for the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, are in addition to a similar pronouncement by the Supreme Court, adding that the only role that the constitution assigns to the military is to protect the territorial integrity of the country and not to determine if and when an election should hold.
“As far as we are concerned at the APC presidential campaign organisation, we are ready for the elections on March 28 and April 11, and INEC is ready as confirmed by Professor Jega during the plenary of the Senate and Nigerians are also ready for the election.” [myad]