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Observer group praises Tinubu, military over conduct of off-cycle polls

Observer group praises Tinubu, military over conduct of off-cycle polls
November 21
17:17 2023

The Coalition for Democracy and Development in Africa (CDDA), an international observer group, has praised the Nigerian military for its role in the just concluded off-cycle polls.

The group also commended President Bola Tinubu “for creating an enabling environment for democracy to thrive in the country”.

Off-cycle governorship elections held in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states on November 11.

Thomas Uzah, executive director of the coalition, issued the statement on Tuesday while presenting the coalition’s preliminary report on the election at a press conference in Abuja.


Uzah said the election observers worked closely with stakeholders to ascertain their expectations.

He noted that observers were divided into cells to cover a substantial number of wards and LGAs.

“It was observed that there was a strong military presence in most of the wards and polling stations visited,” Uzah said.


“They provided adequate cover to the electorates and INEC officials during and after the elections.

“Security operatives also provided sufficient security for the election materials and the states’ collation centers before the elections’ commencement.”

The group noted that there were pockets of chaos during the polls that were quickly contained by security operatives.

CDDA said it observed that military personnel deployed for the exercise maintained high levels of professionalism.


The group said among the three states, Kogi had the highest number of reported ballots snatching and disruption of the voting process.

“There were pockets of issues in the states that saw the snatching of ballot boxes, disruption of the elections, and attempts to harass and intimidate perceived opponents by politicians and their associates,” the statement reads.

“In most instances, the security operatives led by the military impressively neutralized these threats. It was observed that the police led security operations, and the military provided adequate cover.

“Military personnel deployed for election monitoring and safety were observed to be decorous and professional. There were a few instances where the military deployed force that resulted in injuries and loss of lives.


“However, this does not take away the fact that the deployment of force was in an attempt to protect the sanctity of the exercise.

“Kogi state topped the list, where political thugs attempted to snatch ballot boxes and disrupt the voting process.


“It was observed that the military provided adequate security at major entry and exit points of these states. The military conducted random stop-and-search exercises, and to a large extent, they prevented the influx of small arms and light weapons in the states during the conduct of the elections.

“Arrests were also effected, and the culprits were handed over to the police for prosecution.”


The coalition commended Christopher Musa, the chief of defence staff, and other heads of security agencies for defending democracy through their actions and inactions in the three states.

“The defense headquarters was also commendable in its supervision of the election operations. There were clear-cut communication channels that improved response time to security threats in the states”, the statement added.


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