• Thursday, July 18, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Militarisation of elections diminishes Nigeria’s democracy – ULC

Continued militarisation of elections Nigeria, diminishes democratic values and calls for serious concern about sustenance of democracy in the country, United Labour Congress (ULC) has said.

The union in a statement issued on Tuesday, and signed by Joe Ajaero, its president, also described the 2019 general election as the worst in Nigeria’s democratic history, listing vote buying, suppression of votes, intimidation of electorate, heavy militarisation, as some of the downside of the elections.

According to the labour union, democracy allows the people freedom and unabridged rights to choose their leadership at all levels of governance. It is in the exercise of these freedoms that electoral processes are validated and outcomes are legitimised, empowering and morally enabling those that are put into offices as a result.

“These are part of the fundamental principles upon which democracy; its traditions, frameworks, institutions and practices are built. The success of any democratic experiment is therefore dependent on the protection of these fine principles. Anything that undermines any of these precepts undermines democracy and ultimately impairs it from delivering its full potentials to the nation and her citizens,” Ajaero said.

Juxtaposing these against the 2019 elections, the ULC said the elections negated the principles upon which elections are organised in sane societies.

“It was a harvest of blood given the loss of lives, a defilement of the ballot and desecration of democracy with the capacity to destroy the very basis of our existence as a democratic nation. It was a complete rape of democracy thus an embarrassing sham that in most cases aborted the will of the majority as expressed by the ballot,” the statement further said.

It said one of the most harrowing experiences witnessed in this election was the “abusive use of the military, the police and other security agencies in the conduct of the elections.

“We saw cases of rampant collusion between the military and politicians to manipulate the vote in favour of their chosen candidates, use of military to intimidate opponents and their voters and eventually to force the collation and announcement of results that heavily compromised electoral integrity,” it further said.

It said the heavy militarisation of elections in Nigeria as seen in the last elections was not healthy for a nation that seeks to raise the bar of democratic aspirations but rather diminishes the institutions of the army and the others, undermining their capacities to effectively fulfill their major task of protecting the nation’s borders against external aggressions,” the union said.

 

JOSHUA BASSEY