This came on the heels of the statement of the Resident Electoral Commission in Osun State, Mr. Segun Agbaje, who said that the state will not be less militarised during the forthcoming governorship election as it was the case during similar election held on June 21 in Ekiti State.
Agbaje said this in Abuja at an event organised to assess the level of the preparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Residents and observers of the June 21 governorship election had witnessed heavy presence of the military men and other security agencies across Ekiti State during the June 21 poll.
Reacting to the state of Osun REC, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition, Mr. Debo Adeniran averred that the intervention of military men in democratic process is an aberration.
He said, “The government must realise that the use of military men to provide security during election is an aberration. It is antithetical to the spirit of true democracy. The police should be well-equipped to provide security during elections; we shouldn’t be inviting khaki boys from their barracks to intervene in democratic process.
“As we have been made to believe that Ekiti Governorship Election was free and fair, the events preceding it and the heavy presence of military make a mess of the result came out of the poll. The evident presence of the federal might before and during the poll with the reported harassment of All Progressives Congress members and its visiting governors in the state some days to the election was uncalled for. Everyone should be given equal opportunity because a pan for the goose is good for the gander.”
Speaking further, the human rights activist argued that the militarization of Osun State may influence the outcome of the election and therefore urged that the soldiers should be kept in the barracks until the situation demands their coming out.
“Basically, the military men should be kept in their barracks, not within the town to intimidate the people. As a matter of fact, military men could even instigate violence with a view to tilting the outcome of election in favour of the candidate that has better relationship with their commanding authority. We are not saying that the citizens should not be protected during the election, all we are asking for is that the military men should not come out until there is manifest threat of violence not contrived violence,” Adeniran said.