FILE PHOTO of a voter casting his ballot.
Mr Stanley Nwabuisi, member representing Ikwuano constituency in Abia House of Assembly, on Tuesday, decried the involvement of the military in elections in the country.
Nwabuisi made the call in Abuja.
According to him, “our laws do not allow the military to be involved in elections in any way. The military is supposed to provide territorial protection for our country.
“The responsibility of securing and ensuring peaceful elections rests with the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC),” he said.
He, however, said that the call questioned the capability of the police to effectively man the elections noting that police seemed to have been overwhelmed by activities of political actors during elections.
“Most things seem to be compromised in the electoral process. That is why the military community wants to assist and it looks as if it has virtually taken over the role of the police during elections.
“We are hopeful that this country will get to the point where the military will have no business in the electoral process, because it is the primary responsibility of the police.
“So, we need to build a better policing system; so that the men will be able to take charge of their responsibilities during elections,” he said.
He also stressed the need for early preparations to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria come 2023.
He said that part of the preparations should include laws that would entrench electoral reforms, with a view to having credible polls in future.
Reacting to the outcome of the recent governorship and National Assembly elections in Bayelsa and Kogi as well as the 2019 general elections, the lawmaker said that what the electorate got was uncalled for.
According to him, it is glaring that elections in both states are full of irregularities, bloodshed and abuse of Electoral Act.
“It is important for us to go back and look into electoral reforms and see how we can begin to turn things around.
“I am happy that the 9th National Assembly is already looking in that direction in order to pass the amended Electoral bill.
“Hopefully, Mr President will assent to it this time, so that we can begin to have a semblance of free, fair and credible elections in this country.
He added that the country needed to get its elections right to make appreciable progress.
“I believe that for us to move forward as a country we need to get our elections right. And for us to get our elections right we need to get the right laws to guide the process,” he said.
Nwabuisi recalled that Senators and members of the House of Representatives in the last National Assembly did their best to come up with electoral reforms bill.
“Unfortunately, it was not accepted. So we could not use that during the 2019 general elections.
“However, I am very hopeful that if we want to move forward then there is the need to dust the electoral reform bill and further amend it,” he said.
“For now we do not have free, fair and credible elections,’’ Nwabuisi said.
He noted that for credible polls to be achieved, the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) should live above board and kill the bug of “inconclusive elections’’.
He noted that while the electoral system was fraught with thuggery and manipulation by politicians, the electoral umpire sometimes created some lacuna, due to its unpreparedness for such sensitive jobs.
“We are hoping and praying that INEC will increase its capacity to conduct acceptable elections by starting its preparations on time.
“With that, we should be able to have conclusive elections,” Nwabuisi said.
The assemblyman further urged political parties and other stakeholders in the electoral process to adhere to the electoral guidelines to ensure conclusive elections.
“Political parties should join hands with other stakeholders in this regard so that elections can be conclusive.
“What we have seen happening is that some politicians are usually in connivance with unscrupulous officials and they try to subvert the will of the people,” he added.