Some Independent Foreign Observers have spoken on the role of Nigerian Military during the Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections held across the country.
They made the observation via a statement made available at a press conference on Tuesday.
The observers in the statement signed by Bill Campbell, added that having examined the roles of stakeholders in the electoral processes, they observed that the military played a commendable roles in the Saturday’s elections.
They said, “The Independent Foreign Observers is an amalgamation of organizations drawn from all over the world to monitor the general elections in Nigeria on the invitation of a select Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria. Consequently, the head of the mission, Bill Campbell deployed election observers around Nigeria with a view to ascertaining the credibility of the elections and the role of the various actors in the electoral process.
According to them, “It was observed amongst other things some section of the country whipped up ethnic sentiments which could undermine the electoral process.
“Some segment of the populace also played the religious card before the electorates in an attempt to induce or coerce votes for their political parties.
“Consequently, there was palpable tension in the polity as regards the security of lives and properties.
The government, therefore, deployed a mix of security agencies to maintain the sanctity of the electoral process as well as maintaining law and order throughout the polls.
“Elections were conducted in the 36 states in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Our team of observers was on ground to monitor the polls and turned in a detailed report on what they observed in the various states that they were deployed.
“The Independent Foreign Observers worked in active collaboration with local NGOs in the various states, and this unique collaboration made the election monitoring exercise seamless and worthwhile.
“It was observed that there was a huge voters’ turnout in parts of the country especially in Northern Nigeria. (North East and North West)
“The voters defied the harsh climatic conditions to come out in their numbers to cast their votes at the various polling units
“The South Eastern States also witnessed a large turnout of voters (Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, and Imo)
“The South Western States didn’t experience as much voters’ turnout as in other parts of the country. This was primarily due to a palpable tension because political analysts had classified the South Western states as the battleground for candidates of both parties.
“The South-South states of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River also witnessed a large turnout of voters.
“From monitoring the elections, it was observed that the electoral process was able to maintain its credibility by the combined efforts of the security agencies led by the Nigerian Army that ensured that incidences of ballot box snatching and other electoral vices were curtailed.
“Voters exercised their electoral franchise without fear especially in the northern part of the country. Our team of observers noted that in the Northern parts of the country, which hitherto was known for underage voting did not experience cases of underage voting. Incidences of vote buying were also prevalent in most parts of the South-South and South Eastern States.
“Our team of observers witnessed pockets of violence in some parts of the country occasioned by attempts by party agents to snatch ballot boxes. This resulted in an open confrontation with the security agencies, who showed resilience in the face of provocation.”