One of the accredited domestic election observers for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, Global Initiative for African Development (GIFAD), has called on the federal government not to deploy military personnel for the poll.
GIFAD said: “Military presence in Anambra State should be downplayed towards the build-up to the elections.”
- NRC halts operations on Abuja Kaduna route
- Kaduna-bound train passengers returned to Abuja amid uncertainty over attack
The GIFAD, at a media briefing in Abuja, jointly addressed by Dr Onwubuya Abraham Breakforth, Chairman; and Ambassador Johnson Adesida, Director-General said the plan by the Police to deploy 34,500 personnel is not enough if their professionalism is not guaranteed.
Breakforth said: “Although the Federal Government will deploy 34,500 personnel of the Police, which is highly commendable, GIFAD urges the Force to be non-partisan, to operate within the rule of engagement, and to respect the will of the people in the forthcoming election.
“The federal government through the security operatives should provide level playing field, because any government forced on the people does not enjoy legitimacy, but rather fuels instability from rejection.”
He said that GIFAD carried out a pre-election survey in 21 local government areas, following the security breaches in the state ahead of the November 6 election and one of their findings was that electorates were willing to cooperate with security operatives, but afraid of their neutrality.
He said that until recently, Anambra State was safe like other states in the South East, having a reputation of holding non-violent elections in the past, with about two million eligible voters.
He said that the recent security breach and unacceptable killings of civilians in the state seem to be a fallout of the activities of agitators on one hand, and the shenanigans of desperate and malicious politicians, who want to commandeer political power by all means, on the other hand.
He also lamented that political parties were not campaigning due to insecurity, and thus voters’ education and participation are hampered.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said it cancelled its sit-at-home order and not involved in the forthcoming Anambra Polls. But some agitators are enforcing the sit-at-home order which implies that there are non-state actors in action.
“Activities of cultists have heightened as well, and mostly sponsored by politicians,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who has said it would use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the election to work with security agencies and assure the people, obeying the sit-at-home order out of fear, which may translate to voter apathy, of their safety and security.
Adesida, on his part, wanted actions on the unknown gunmen, who he said should be unmasked and the sponsors of the politically motivated killings exposed.
He said that the federal government had what it takes to maintain peace in Anambra, and the rest of the country, without resorting to extreme measures that usually backfire.
He said the government should be tactical and avoid brutal engagement against agitators which in the past bred the general insecurity in the country, and which will not abate now if a forceful resolution to conflicts is applied in Anambra due to the coming election.