Since the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some Nigerians are oppose to the deployment of the Nigerian Armed Forces personnel to the venues of elections, members of the National Youth Service Corps should reject the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) ad-hoc job offer to avert the repeat of the mindless killing of NYSC members as it happened during the 2011 general elections. The violence that erupted in some parts of the north led to the death of 11 members of the NYSC in Bauchi State and 300 other Nigerians in the Zonkwa area of Kaduna State. Some members of the NYSC were locked up in houses and set ablaze, many severed into halve, why others had their bodies mangled and limbs chopped. Twenty five of them were killed in bomb blasts that occurred in Maiduguri and Suleja; it was a gory experience.
The deaths of those promising Nigerians who volunteered to serve their fathers’ land during the 2011 elections but were dispatched to their early graves caused uproar within the country. Many Nigerians questioned the rational between serving one’s father land and being killed and rejecting such service and staying alive. How many Nigerians will be happy to see their children get killed why serving their father’s land? Those innocent Nigerians who were hacked down in their prime could be the breadwinners in their various families and also contributed their quotas to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
It will be recalled that before the 2011 general elections, the Nigerian Armed Forces personnel were never deployed to venues of elections. But with the wanton killings of the members of the NYSC during the 2011 general elections prompted the federal government to introduce soldiers to supervise subsequent elections. This was done to forestall the slaughter of innocent Nigerians during elections. When the federal government proposed to deploy soldiers to Edo State for the July 14, 2012 governorship election, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which merged with other political parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), objected, saying they were meant to rig the election in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). That was mere parochialism as the outcome of that election proved otherwise because the ACN won. The ACN also opposed the deployment of soldiers to Ondo State for the October 20, 2012 governorship election, giving the same reason as above but the outshot of that election didn’t favour the ruling PDP rather it was won by the candidate of the Labour Party, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko which was also the incumbent governor.
The deployment of soldiers to Anambra State for the November 16 governorship election in 2013 also witnessed resistance from the ACN and some Nigerians for same reason but the result turned out to favour the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Willy Obiano and not that of the PDP, Chief Tony Nwonye. The fuss that followed the use of soldiers in the Ekiti State governorship election was resounding since the incumbent governor then, Chief Kayode Fayemi is a member of the APC. The ruling PDP candidate, Chief Ayo Fayose won that election. It is pertinent to note that the same hue and cry that preceded the use of soldiers in other states mentioned above repeated itself in Osun State but incumbent Governor Rauf Aresgbesola of the APC won the election. It should be noted that of the five governorship elections conducted after the 2011 general elections, the ruling PDP won in only one state. If the deployment of soldiers to states where elections are to be held is aimed to rig elections in favour of the ruling PDP, why didn’t the PDP win in all the five states mentioned above? Or, is the APC and its co-travellers insinuating that the ruling PDP used the military to rig the elections against itself but favoured the opposition political parties? This position beats every sense of reason and logic. Is it not the interest of Nigeria for soldiers to supervise and prevent the slaughter of innocent Nigerians during elections than for them not to supervise our elections and Nigerians are murdered without provocation?
It is noteworthy that no life was lost during or after the governorship elections in the five states mentioned above. The electorates were not intimidated by the soldiers as there were no complaints of intimidation by the electorates in those states during the elections. This is why every Nigerian should support the supervision of elections by soldiers to prevent the butchery of innocent Nigerians and destruction of property. If soldiers will not be allowed to protect the lives of the electorates and INEC staff during the elections, members of the NYSC should not accept INEC adhoc job offer. The heinous crimes perpetrated against the members of the NYSC in the 2011 general elections are still very fresh in our memory; we don’t want such to repeat itself in 2015. Any member of the NYSC that accepts INEC’s adhoc job and they are attacked and killed during the elections shouldn’t blame anybody since there tension in the land presently; to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Those who opposed the deployment of soldiers to keep peace during elections should make themselves and their children available as adhoc staff of INEC during the 2015 general elections.