|Babangida says Military shouldn't be in the Streets at elections
Former military president Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has kicked against drafting of the military for electoral duties, saying it would expose them to compromise, even as he pointed
out that it is difficult for the FG to fight Boko Haram and negotiate with them.
IBB, who spoke to correspondents at his hilltop home in Minna as part of activities to mark his 73rd birthday on Sunday, said that if the police were well equipped and trained they would be able to exercise the civic duty of manning elections.
The former military leader said: “The militarization of the polity is your fault simply because, somehow, there is this element in you; you seem to accept that, whether consciously or unconsciously, you have compromised your Police Force. So the last one that has not been compromised but that would soon be compromised is the military.
“But I don’t believe that the military should supervise the elections because I don’t believe it should participate. A peep into the Nigeria Police Force, which is the closest to the people, is if the government is able to train them, they would be able to handle any situation.”
He recalled that when he was an officer in the ‘60s there was never a time that they were drafted for such civic duty and the police then was able to manage the situation. If the military must be drafted for the 2015 election, he said, it should be to difficult terrains like the creeks where accessibility could be very difficult.
IBB added: “ I was already an officer in the Nigerian Army in the ‘60s and there was no military presence in those days except the Nigeria Police, and I think it is high time we restored the past glory of the force. But I think it is again what the developing countries face; the time would come — though I am not sure of the military guys to be involved in these civil duties. It cannot continue like this; you guys would shout your heads out; the public would shout and the administration would listen.”
On whether the military should be involved in 2015, IBB said: “I tell you that, up till date, there are places that you need logistical support by the political leaders. If you take, for example, there are boats in the creeks of the Niger Delta region. The boats have the access to the remote villages and townships in that region, not the road during the elections or whatever it is.
“So, I can see a government that would say, okay, if you go to villages in the creeks and we have boats that can get in there, you can ask those people operating the boats to use their boats in ferrying ballot boxes to such places that cannot be easily accessed through the roads and that is perfectly okay. But pertinently I don’t believe the military guys should be seen in the streets during election.”