The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO), has said that placing the fate of the 2015 general elections in the hands of the military is a mockery of democracy.
The organisation in a statement signed by its director of media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said that while it appreciated the readiness of the military to deploy troops for the election, democracy and the military are not complementary as subjecting the fate of a democracy to the military is a coup against the people.
Shehu said the service of the military would be better utilised in other pressing areas, especially in the combat of insurgency and protection of the territorial integrity of the country.
He said that the position of the APCPCO was prompted by last Wednesday’s statement credited to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, while fielding questions from Senators on the readiness of the commission to stick to the March 28 date for elections, that the service chiefs will have to ratify the date and the military’s expression of readiness to deploy troops for the polls.
While calling on INEC to take cognisance of the superior courts’ ruling on the role of the military in elections and the military’s own commitment of its readiness to deploy troops for the 2015 elections, Shehu said: “We are not comfortable with any attempt to draft the military into election function and are reassured by the declaration by President Jonathan that the elections would hold as scheduled by INEC on March 28 and April 11.
“We have carefully studied positions made by the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday and we want to put it on record that we are not in any way comfortable with the idea that the military service chiefs will determine whether the March 28 date of the presidential election is feasible or not.
“The concepts of democracy and the military are never complementary, and to say that the military will determine when an election will hold is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. It is akin to a coup against the people of Nigeria to subject the fate of our democracy in the hands of a few military service chiefs.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, the APC presidential campaign organisation will not accept any attempt to subvert the electoral processes of democracy in the country.
“The Nigerian constitution is very clear about how the electoral processes in the country should be run and there is no single clause of the constitution that makes the military service chiefs to preside over the conduct of elections.
“Furthermore, there are extant judicial pronouncements specifically at two Courts of Appeal, the recent being that on the Ekiti governorship election that bars the military from undertaking any role whatsoever in the conduct of elections in the country. These are in addition to a similar pronouncement by the Supreme Court.
“The only role that the constitution assigns to the military is to protect the territorial integrity of the country and not to determine if and when an election should hold.
“As far as we are concerned at the APC presidential campaign organisation, we are ready for the elections on March 28 and April 11, and INEC is ready as confirmed by Professor Jega during the plenary of the Senate and Nigerians are also ready for the election”.