An South-East activists under the umbrella of the Southeast Based Coalition Of Human Rights and Democracy Organizations, SBCHROs, on Monday, March 11, 2019, advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, “to begin or initiate the process of registration and recognition of the Nigerian Army as a political party so that it could formally join the league of the Nigerian registered political parties.”
“In this regard, the Nigerian Army may go by name: the Army Political Party of Nigeria, APPN,” SBCHROs, a coalition of more than 23 human rights and democracy organisations based in Southeast Nigeria, said in a joint statement issued in Onitsha, signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Aloysius Attah, Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD, Justice Chidi, PhD, and Chidinma Evan Udegbunam.
“Registering the Nigerian Army as a political party will generally make Nigerians to begin to see and treat the Nigerian Army during the polls as “participant” and not “securitisation referee”,” SBCHROs said. “In the case of Nigerian Army, the brazen brigandage, thuggery and other forms of electoral partisanship and robbery played out in the just held shambolic polls of 2019 are negatively a clear sign of “sending strong message to Nigerians that the Army is tired of being “non-partisan” or “security referees” in the Nigerian polls,” it added.
Continuing, the rights coalition said: “It is no longer hidden or news that the soldiers of the Nigerian Army had during the shambolic electoral exercise engaged with reckless abandon in snatching and diversion of ballot boxes and materials including result sheets; doctoring of results, holding electoral officers and party agents to ransom, obstruction of their duties and restriction of their movement or access to collation centers as well as forcing them to announce results at gunpoint. The soldiers of the Nigerian Army also engaged in shooting and killing or causing the death of voters, breaking into family apartments and exposing the nakedness of married couples in their sleep as well as intimidation and harassment of voters and poll observers, etc.
“On the other hand, going by the compromised roles of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the shambolic polls, it may most likely be safe to advise the Commission to replace its existing logo with “the APC’s broom” logo, so as to formally legitimise its leprous status and stopped from being seen by Nigerians and international watchers as “unbiased umpire” or “independent electoral commission”. Apart from overtaking the Maurice Iwu era of INEC as the worst electoral commission leadership in Nigeria since 1999, it is also most likely correct to say that the present INEC is nothing short of an electoral commission flooded with “APC animated brooms”.
“Other than Dr. Mike Igini (REC of Akwa Ibom), other National and State RECs including INEC Chairman have by their recent misconducts shown that they are nothing short of apologists of dictatorship, tyranny and totalitarianism and arch enemies of democracy in Nigeria. Dr. Mike Igini has been very outstanding and remained incorruptible since his appointment as REC several years ago; a feat he has maintained till date. He is integrity personified and deserves plethora of international awards.
“Aside him, others are speaking in tongues very difficult for Nigerians and other lovers of democracy to decode and understand. A clear case in point are the unfolding dramas in the just held Governorship poll, etcetera; whereby “inconclusiveness” was introduced in States where the ruling APC’s major challenger, PDP, is coasting home to victory, whereas in others where APC has “won”, “conclusiveness” was applied to the last. In other States where PDP is having an edge with convincing margin, “the results are still being collated”. This is in spite of the fact that the ICT era governorship polls were conducted since past three days.
“In Rivers State, it was “suspension of the poll” even when APC did not run or field a governorship candidate. In Imo and Kano States where PDP was officially leading convincingly, “collation and announcement of results have been abruptly suspended”. The APC thugs led by Deputy Governor of Kano State were reported to have torn the remaining results of the last LGA (44th LGA) so as to facilitate possible declaration of the entire guber poll “inconclusive”. The winner of the Kano governorship poll would have been long declared by INEC if it had gone the APC way.
“In Nasarawa State, where PDP was officially leading in most of the LGAs, the results were magically turned in favor of APC with its candidate announced as “winner”. In Taraba, Benue, Kaduna and Delta States where APC was officially trailing PDP in many results announced, their declarations have been suspiciously delayed. In Sokoto, Bauchi, Plateau and Adamawa, where PDP was coasting home to victory, their results “have been declared “inconclusive”.
“But in Ogun, Lagos, Borno, Kwara, Kebbi, Katsina, Gombe, Niger, Jigawa and others where APC “successfully” won, their results have since been easily and “conclusively declared” and their “winners” returned. Governorship polls are strictly designed by INEC as “State INEC business”, but in the just held governorship poll, “Abuja INEC and Presidency must reportedly confirm” and where the contrary is the case, “they are declared inconclusive and rescheduled” or put on hold under the guise of “results are still being collated”.
“Pitiably, therefore, the Nigerian Army under Lt Gen Tukur Buratai has been so debased with slimmest chances of being redeemed and returned to professionalism, non-partisanship and college of modern day territorial security and military science. We make bold to say that the Nigerian Army is on speed match, already hitting the nadir of precipice to join the moribund armies of former Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Liberia, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sierra Leone and other armies of the crumbled brutal regimes around the world.
“It is on irrefutable records that the present Nigerian Army under its COAS, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai has never been so politicised, un-professionalised, disrespected, partisan, thuggery, debased, demeaned, uncontrolled and tactless than under the present chief of army staff. The Army has never been this bad and desolated under any other army chief of staff and all the past army chiefs put together. What remains of professionalism, neutrality and secular status of the Nigerian Army has been rubbished by its recent brazen thuggery and brigandage in the country’s 2019 shambolic polls especially in the South-South region of Nigeria.
“It is so brazen and shameful that the national Army of Nigeria is now being watched on televisions and other visual electronic devices all over the world snatching ballot boxes and other electoral materials; shooting and breaking into family apartments at night, exposing the nakedness of family couples and their children, disrupting their sleeps and staining their family apartments with bloods of the shot innocent citizens including public office holders.
“As undeniably caught on cameras and videos by Nigerians and members of the international community including the UK Government and foreign poll observers, the soldiers of Nigerian Army sent by Lt Gen Tukur Buratai have now been debased to the extent of usurping and taking over the functions of the compromised and integrity challenged Independent National Electoral Commission. It is so bad that soldiers of the Nigerian Army now determine which party agents and INEC officials to be allowed access or denied same to results collation centers particularly in South-South region of Nigeria.
“The Army leadership is so shameless and unrepentant that when locally and internationally busted of its evil deeds against Nigerians particularly the innocent voting population; it shamelessly came out and claimed that “hoodlums in military uniforms are responsible”. Footages of the military misconducts in the shambolic polls have not only rented the air or gone viral across the country and beyond its borders, but also sent shocks to Nigerians and members of the international community; ridiculing and tarnishing what remains of the country’s regional and international image and reputation.
“Noted, too, is the fact that the intensification and escalation of the military’s gross misconducts in the shambolic polls are chiefly necessitated by the conspiracy of silence and congregated and aggregated endorsement of such atrocious conducts of the military in the February 23, 2019, segment of the shambolic polls. Had the international community including the foreign observers come hard on the Nigerian Presidency and its military by calling spade a spade, the latest round of gross misconducts on the part of the military would not have taken place or occurred at minimal scale, if taken place.
“Today, the UK Government has suddenly and belatedly woken up to “express deep concerns over military interference with the works of INEC in Rivers State”; yet it was the same UK Government that hailed and congratulated PMB over the “free and fair conduct” of the 23rd Feb Poll. It is so bad and shocking that not even the award winning and $5 million richer former President of Liberia and newest recipient of the Mo Ibrahim democracy icon award, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; alongside others, could speak out or rise in strong condemnation of the armada of electoral fraud called “Nigerian General Polls of 2019”.
“We therefore make bold to say that the credibility tragedy befalling the present Nigerian Army and its leadership had been long seen way back in 2016 when it ceased to be truly “Nigerian Army”, but an Army composed or tailored along ethno-religious lines. The Army started by making itself a national militant branch of “the Miyatti Allah cattle breeding of Fulani stock”. Since then, the Nigerian Army has remained more of “jihadist Isbar militias” than the “Nigerian Army”.
“Both at the level of the Coalition and Intersociety, several investigative reports and statements have been issued on these, drawing the attention of various interest groups including the present central Government of Nigeria and the international community; calling for the return of Nigerian Army to path of professionalism and secularism. We have also on several occasions put it on clear records that no leadership of the Nigerian Army has troubled Nigeria and Nigerians than the present Army leadership under Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
“The Army under him has killed and maimed more innocent and unarmed Nigerian citizens than under any other Army chief in the country and in non-war situations. He is also the first Nigerian Army chief of staff to be powerfully and popularly dragged to ICC over strong allegations of crimes against humanity perpetrated in non-war situation(s). Several international and local research works or documentations also abound over atrocities committed or condoned by Lt Gen Buratai while in office as the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff since July 2015.
“INEC must therefore release all the results in its possession in the above named States and ensure that the results released are the true reflection of the votes obtained from polling booths. The results of Imo, Delta, Taraba, Benue, Kaduna and Kano must be released intact or as originally collated from their polling centers or in accordance with results contained in the Form EC8As. Nigerians also demand firm and concrete explanations from the integrity challenged INEC over its suspicious declaration of the governorship results of Sokoto, Bauchi, Plateau and Adamawa as “inconclusive” while those of APC held areas were released with ease and declared “conclusive”.
“Going by recent experiences as were the case in the February 23, 2019, Poll, these “delays” and “inconclusiveness” are obviously and deliberately designed to subvert the true electoral wishes of the Nigerian voters and massively manipulate them in favor of the APC ruling Party and its central Government and outgoing state administrations in the named states.”
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