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INEC, Reps seek less military role in elections

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The Independently National Electoral Commission on
Tuesday threw its weight behind an amendment to
the Electoral Act 2010 proposed by the House of
Representatives, seeking to limit the participation of
the military in future elections in the country.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, spoke at the
National Assembly Complex in Abuja during a one-
day public hearing on a bill to amend the Electoral
Act 2010.

The public hearing was organised by the Jerry
Manwe –led House of Representatives Committee on
Electoral Matters.

The public hearing was attended by the Speaker of
the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, who
promised that the bill was to ensure a level playing
ground for all participants in the future elections in
the country.

The National Assembly had in its proposed
amendment sought the insertion of a new paragraph
(b) in the Section 29(1) of the Electoral Act to limit the
roles of the military to “securing the distribution and
delivery of electoral materials”.

Speaking on the insertion of the new paragraph and
other proposed amendments, Jega said giving the
commission the statutory power to manage security
forces during elections would help to sanitise the
nation’s electoral processes.

Jega said it was the practice in many countries
around the world that electoral bodies were given the
power of management of security forces during
elections.

He said, “On the insertion of a new section 29 (1) (b)
to empower INEC to control security agencies at
election time, there are a few countries that are
doing this because they feel it is good practice.

“In fact in some of the countries the entire
management of the security forces in the period of
the election are given to the electoral management
body.

“We did not recommend this because people are
already accusing us of taking too much power. But if
other stakeholders agree with this recommendation,
it would help sanitise the electoral process.”

The recently held June 21 and August 9 governorship
elections in Ekiti and Osun states respectively had
sparked debates on heavy militarisation of elections
in the country.

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