By Francesca Iwambe, Abuja
A coalition of 23 civil society organisations have commended the Armed Forces and Police for the peaceful conduct of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
The CSOs, under the umbrella of Network for Promotion of Democracy in Nigeria, hailed the troops and officers for their neutrality, impartiality and professionalism throughout the exercise.
The convener, Abel Abu said the security agencies worked round the clock to address the various threats that were capable of undermining the electoral process.
He, therefore, described the Armed Forces, Police, and others as the bastion of Nigeria's democracy.
“It must be stated that, indeed, the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly Elections goes down in history as one of the most keenly contested elections in the democratic experience in Nigeria.
“That the elections have come and gone is a testament to the fact that democracy has indeed come to stay in Nigeria. This is on the heels that there were several attempts by agents of destabilization to truncate the process, but for the intervention and professionalism of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“What most Nigerians might not know is the fact that the Armed Forces, in collaboration with the Nigerian Police and other security agencies, worked round the clock in analyzing and addressing the various security threats that were capable of undermining the electoral process.
“It is indeed a victory for democracy that non-state actors such as the Boko Haram, Bandits, Eastern Security Network, and other criminal elements across the country were denied the opportunity to disrupt the electoral process.
“This much was evident in the fact that Nigerians could exercise their electoral franchise without fear or favour in defense of democracy. The credibility of the electoral process is such that it has instilled confidence in Nigerians in their choices concerning the country's leadership.
“The Network for the Promotion of Democracy in Nigeria, as a critical stakeholder in the enhancement and entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria, wishes to use this medium to commend the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for standing tall in the provision of credible leadership thorough out the election period.
“The leadership of other security agencies were also up and doing. Nigerians are indeed grateful that they were able to vote. Their votes counted, which has undoubtedly boosted the confidence of the electorates and the international community concerning the credibility of the elections.
“The Network for the Promotion of Democracy in Nigeria wishes to state that the country owes the Armed Forces an outstanding debt of gratitude for the success of the Presidential and National Assembly elections. The Armed Forces once again proved its unalloyed commitment to preserving our nascent democracy.
“It is also to the credit of the Armed Forces and other security agencies that non-state actors, especially in the country's South Eastern region, could not disrupt the elections, despite the numerous threats in the buildup.
The case in the North East is also worthy of mention as the Armed Forces ensured that elections were held peacefully across the region and electorates exercised their rights freely and without fear or favour. The same applies in other parts of the country where elections are held peacefully, and results announced.”
The CSOs, however, urged the leadership of the Armed Forces and others not to rest on their oars when all elections are conducted and concluded.
Abu added that they “must continue to serve as the bastion of our democracy by ensuring that all threats posed by non-state actors and other criminal elements across the country are neutralized with the overarching objective of peace and tranquillity. “