Chris Steven, Abuja
The 2019 general elections may have come and gone yet the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and Conflict Resolutions in Nigeria is still in awe over the success of the exercise.
In its final report, the group acknowledged the remarkable role played by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai and the Nigerian Army in safeguarding the nation’s democracy and defending the constitution.
Unlike recent history, Nigeria witnessed professional conduct and proactive approach to violence.
The Nigerian troops rose to the occasion, halting obvious plot to manipulate the elections, especially in the country’s oil-rich south-south region.
Having thoroughly examined the roles of the government and other critical stakeholders in the conduct of the polls, the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and Conflict Resolutions in Nigeria showered praises on the Nigerian troops, clearing them from any wrongdoing.
This conclusion was reached after a team of researchers carefully interviewed political leaders at ward levels, clergymen as well as a segment of the voting population on the level of involvement of the security agencies in the conduct of the gubernatorial and presidential elections in six states.
These states include Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Rivers, Nasarawa and Zamfara – all alleged to have been embroiled in violence.
The group further revealed that the claims of human rights violations were not factual and reports that agents of government were used to intimidate voters were based on illogical conclusions.
In a report signed by National Coordinator, Maxwell Gowon, the group dismissed allegations of partisanship against the Nigerian Army as it could not be substantiated and thus existed as a mere figment of the imagination.
“ The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria could not establish cases of human rights abuses against the Nigerian Army in the six states it visited.
“ The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria has interacted with members of the host communities identified that the news making rounds on the complicity of the Nigerian Army in undermining the credibility of the electoral process were fabricated with no evidence to substantiate the claims.
“ The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria states that it was satisfied with the human rights compliance of the Nigerian Army, before, during, and after the 2019 general elections in Nigeria.
“ The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria. also states that from reports garnered from the fieldwork, the Nigerian Army indeed stood on the side of the people in protecting our nascent democracy.
“ The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria commends the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai for providing that valuable leadership in the course of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria.”