CDS Justifies Militarisation of 2019 Polls

Abayomi Olonisakin
  •  Seeks extra budgetary funding for armed forces

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The militarisation of the recent general election in the country was yesterday justified by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin,who said the situation would have been worse save for the involvement of the military in the election process.

Olonisakin, who presented a paper entitled ‘Issues on Security and Governance’ on Thursday evening at the orientation programme for National Assembly members-elect in Abuja, said if there had been no deployment of soldiers during the polls, the security situation would have been compromised in some parts of the country.

The CDS further justified the involvement of the military, saying it helped save Nigeria from being thrown into a war theatre, adding that it was also in tandem with military carrying out its secondary responsibility in line with the provisions of 1999 constitution of the federal republic of nigeria (as amended).

“During the just concluded 2019 general election, the success of the electoral process was almost hampered by the security in some parts of the country. Many crises prone areas were properly maned by security services to ensure that the electorate were secured enough to carry out their civic duties of electing candidates of their choices.

“There have been various arguments by different positions of political parties and other stakeholders of the legality and otherwise of the military in support of the civic authority in the election process. A critical area of support that was provided and perhaps not very visible to the public is the deployment of military logistics capabilities, especially naval and air access to support the movement of materials across the country.

“I need to reiterate that this deployment is in line with constitutional role of the armed forces of Nigeria as earlier stated. Even in the last general election 2019, the security situation in the country during the election process is better imagined if the military had not been deployed to perform their secondary responsibility thus the effect of security on governance is an important aspect that lawmakers, military personnel and the civil public need to understand in other to make the right decisions.

“A good understanding of these dynamics would enable political leaders and public officials to make realistic decisions and enact laws to achieve national security objectives. Over the years, the armed forces of Nigeria has built various capacities to enable it perform our various goals.

“This capacity development is dependent on a number of factors including training and the availability of adequate platforms which has direct impact in improving the capability of the armed forces of Nigeria in the field and subsequent effect on national security.”

The CDS also solicited for support on the part of the lawmakers for effective funding for the Armed forces if it must effectively and efficiently carry out its constitutional duties

According to him, the armed forces must be funded appropriately outside the ritual budgetary allocation if the military must do what it ought to do.

Olonisakin said the military needs money outside the budgeted one because that is not enough to fund the Armed Forces, just as he said that the Armed Forces was considering an alternative way of funding.

His words, “Major challenge of the capacity of the armed forces of Nigeria is the limited budgetary allocations to meet the need of the armed forces of Nigeria. I have often maintained that a well-trained and well equipped and adequately motivated armed forces of Nigeria cannot be funded through budgetary allocation alone.

“Accordingly, the defence headquarters had proposed that we need to consider alternative funding options for the armed forces of Nigeria in addition to the budgetary allocation.

“The armed forces of Nigeria will continue to count on the support of the National Assembly to enact appropriate legislations that will support capability development of the armed forces of Nigeria. Security sector reform, appropriate funding and other initiative through appropriate legislation to enable the armed forces support national security and good governance.

“As it is often said, the fundamental reason for the existence of government in the provision of robust security proactive enough to enable a conducive environment for the pursuit of sustainable development for the society.

“Deriving from this is the fact that the truth for the existence of any nation, is rooted in the security sector. National security is unquestionable tied to good governance, and good leadership is the aspiration of every citizen in most countries in the world.

“These two fundamentals can hardly be achieved in the midst of both internal and external threats in the nation, most government across the globe always strive to ensure that the state is secure and free from crises that could compromise good governance.”

He added that there is crucial link between good governance, national security and economic development, saying if security is not maintained, governance cannot be delivered, it would be a great threat to the unity and integrity of the country.