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Deployment Of Armed Security Operatives For Elections Encourages People To Vote – Jega


Chairman of the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor
Attahiru Jega has dismissed opinions that
the deployment of armed security during
an election discourages people from
participating in electoral process.

He said instead, the presence of security
helps to drive people’s confidence to
participate in the process.
“I want to state that the use of military is
not necessarily a disincentive for
participation in an election,” said Jega, while
delivering a speech as a special guest of
honour at the 2014 Annual General Meeting
of the Newspaper Proprietors of Nigeria
(NPAN) in Lagos.
According to him, Ekiti election was a good
example that security men don’t scare
people away during elections, as a 49
percent voter turn-out was recorded,
“which is the highest in all the elections we
have ever had in this country. This means
that the presence of security gave people
the courage to come out and vote.”
He further explained that, “it is possible to
have credible elections without heavy
presence of armed security. That is the
ideal situation and that is what we want to
see. But it depends on context, the kind of
security challenges that a country has. That
is what determines what role the armed
forces can play in an electoral process. In
Nigeria for instance, the way we define the
role of the security is that at the polling
units, there will be an average of three
unarmed policemen, then outside of the
polling units, about a radius of 300 metres,
we can have patrols by mobile police and
check-points by mobile police.
“And then the army conducts what is called
outer peripheral cordon, which is at the
point of entering the state or the major
entries of the main cities in the state.”
Giving an insight into the commission’s role
in deepening democracy in the country,
Jega said the country is faced with several
challenges which revolve around challenges
with good governance, adding that having
credible electoral process had become an
imperative to address these challenges.
“We know that our electoral process has
been very bad and we allowed things to go
bad for so long and now it will require lots
of serious and consistent efforts to be able
to address these challenges. Nigeria faces
tremendous challenges but foremost among
these challenges is that of good democratic
“It’s no longer an issue of good governance
because there are authoritarian regime that
can provide goods and services and
institutions and so on, but if the
opportunities are not provided for people to
express themselves and participate in the
process and contribute in the shaping and
design of policies, then obviously that will
be good governance, but not democratic
“Our country has suffered for long under
the authoritarian rule of the military regime
and even though in the last 18 years, we
have been struggling and transitioning to
democracy, there is still much to do and the
legacies of authoritarian rule which has
been embedded into the body polity and
the governance process are still there and
there are still formidable challenges that we
have to deal with.
“The key challenge then, is to keep on the
transition process and there is no doubt
that if we must build a credible democracy,
then we must also reform our electoral
process. This is because the electoral
process is a medium in a democratic
context for the choice of leaders and for
ensuring that the selection of leadership is
targeted at bringing about good democratic
governance, such that the resources and
potentials of the country can be put to
good use for the benefit of the country and
the citizens,” he said.
He therefore urged the media to always try
to balance their private interest as a
business with that of the public good.
“Your investment may be private
investment, but they also have tremendous
public utility and it is, therefore, very
important that proprietors of newspapers
and other media, must balance the private
interest with the pub…continue reading..

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