2011 Polls: Military To Assist INEC

INEC said on Thursday in Abuja that the commission was considering enlisting the support of the military in the provision of logistics for the conduct of 2011 general elections.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day workshop on “Security Challenges of Election Management: Toward Nigeria’s 2011,’’ organised by INEC in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Foundation.

It said “the decision became necessary having noted that the challenges facing INEC are multi-dimensional and the need to garner support for tactical internal security awareness.”

According to the communiqué, INEC needs to develop a special electoral security strategy and plans that will delineate roles for different agencies based on their competence profile and capacity.

Prof. Lai Olurode, the Chairman, Board of INEC Electoral Institute, in his presentation at the workshop had stressed that the need to enlist the military for logistics was necessary to overcome the challenges in  difficult terrains.

“In the distribution of materials there are some difficult terrains that you cannot navigate ordinarily unless you get some logistics support from security agencies,” Olurode noted.

He said that INEC was discussing with security operatives to see how best to collaborate with them in the  distribution of election materials in riverside and difficult areas.

Olurode said that kidnapping and abduction would not necessarily pose a threat to the military engaged in the distribution of materials in such areas.

He said that participants at the workshop had observed that security remained a persistent critical challenge to the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

“It was recommended for INEC to create a platform for inter-agency collaboration on security matters at all levels as a matter of urgency.

“INEC should also design and deploy appropriate training and sensitisation measures to guide security personnel and agencies to be deployed for electoral duties,” Olurode added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop drew some 50 participants from the academia, security services, civil society organisations, the media, private security firms and electoral management bodies from Lesotho, Kenya, Togo and Senegal.