A former Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Dr. Ladan Salihu, has said that the recent off-cycle elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states were militarised.
Salihu told Channels TV on Tuesday that the security agencies deployed too many military personnel and police officers to polling units, creating an atmosphere of fear.
He said that the resources used to secure off-cycle elections could be better spent addressing the country’s security challenges.
Salihu said the elections were marred by complaints of irregularities suggesting that Nigeria had not learned from the mistakes of the past.
He said, “When you talk about security agencies, the entire process is militarised. You have over security, why do you need sojas in polling units, why do need a lot of policemen, SSS even the EFCC in polling units?
“From this part of the country at this point in time, I would rather have these hundreds of thousands of security personnel deployed to Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Plateau, Benue and the North East to take care of the security challenges.
“If what I saw from the three elections, the number of military personnel, the police that I have seen can, with the same effort, be mobilized and deployed to areas where we have security challenges, we would have overcome this security challenges.
“I endorse the idea of having polls secured but the number seems to create a feeling beyond the issue of protecting the ballot boxes and the integrity of the situation.
“The mobilization was unprecedented and it has led to some fears that if this kind of attitude should continue, we would be degenerating into something else beyond politics and elections.”
The former DG also expressed disappointment over pre-filled election results, adding that the country had not learned from the past.
“Over the years, we have gravitated from one sort of one complaint to another, the problems are all over the place.
“Like we have seen the elections in Kogi, there were cases where the election results were prefilled, if you get to Imo, we also have a lot of irregularities, if you get into Bayelsa, there have been complaints left, right and centre.
“And these complaints are all over the three states, to sum it up all, it does appear as if we have not even learnt from whatever mistake that might have happened in the past,” he added.