A new report has emerged of how the top hierarchy of the Nigerian military have threatened the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that no army personnel will be made available throughout the country to provide security for the February 14 presidential election if the commission insists on going on with the scheduled date of the election.
According to the Daily Trust, the army said its decision is based on its operations in the north east region.
The military service chiefs had reportedly already advised INEC in writing to postpone the polls for at least six weeks.
The letter was sent to the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday by the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd). In the letter, Dasuki said he was “strongly advising” the INEC to postpone the forthcoming polls on the basis of a letter he received from the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
Badeh’s letter to Dasuki, which Dasuki affirmed had the backing of all security service chiefs, said the military had just launched a major effort with the collaboration of Chad, Cameroon and the Niger Republic to rid the north east region of Boko Haram insurgents once and for all. He said while the operation lasted, it would not be possible to hold elections in Adamawa, Yobe, Borno and Gombe states.
Badeh therefore advised Dasuki to advise the INEC to either not hold elections in the four states or postpone elections throughout the country for at least six weeks. He clearly indicated that the military preferred the second option.
Even though the INEC chairman had told the National Council of State that the INEC was ready to go ahead with the elections as scheduled, he added that the INEC had received a new security report which could change the commission's plans, but he did not explain further.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Kenneth Minimah said that if the INEC decides to go ahead with the polls next week there will be no soldiers available anywhere to provide election security.
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Meanwhile, former United States ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa, Princeton Lyman, last week told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that Nigeria is not ready for next month’s general elections.