INEC justifies use of military for elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ondo State has admitted that military participation during election was to encourage more people to come out to vote, as they feel a sense of security.

This was disclosed on Monday in Akure, the state capital, by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, at a town hall meeting on non-violent electoral participation.

Agbaje disclosed that while some PVCs were still being awaited from INEC headquarters, others were yet to be collected by their owners.

He also noted that a higher number of people came out to vote when military personnel are used on election days, adding that the military personnel do not go to polling booths, but are only stationed to enforce the no-movement order, citing the Osun and Ekiti example, which, he said, led to a successful outing.

He noted that the electoral body was considering how security personnel, observers and Nigerians abroad could be incorporated into the system so that they too could vote, probably on a special day.

The REC noted that the collaborative efforts of the civil society organizations (CSOs) have assisted the commission, especially in the area of knowledge sharing workshops, voters and civic education, among others.

Abaje also said that a total of 1,073,904 PVCs had been distributed to voters in the state, representing 71.87% as at February 25, 2015, while 420,265, representing 28,13% were yet to be collected.

On the issue of violence, he called on all individuals to shun violence or attempts to be used by any politician, who will only use and dump them. He said it was the responsibility of all to say NO! to violence, during and after the election.

“Every one of us must take a stand against electoral violence. We can’t afford to be on the fence, you and I have a role to play if we must say NO! to violence,” he said.

In his own contribution, the South West Co-ordinator of ‘Say No’ campaign organization, Mr Abiodun Ajila, said this election must be free and fair and we all must say NO! to electoral violence.

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