The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the heavy presence of security personnel at polling units encouraged large voters’ turnout during election periods.
The Director of Education and Publicity of INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzi, said that the electorate should not be discouraged by few politicians who condemned the use of security personnel during the exercise.
The director cited the Osun and Ekiti states governorship elections where large turnout of voters was witnessed in spite of the presence of security operatives.
“In Osun governorship election, more than 80 per cent of people who picked up their voters’ cards exercised their franchise; they went to vote. Did that tell you something?
“In Ekiti, more than 75 per cent of people who picked up their cards also went to vote. So is there no correlation?
“Obviously, the presence of security is reassuring; it serves as a deterrent to those who will want to cause problems and reassures those who will want to exercise their franchise.
“The participation has continued to increase where there is security presence. It is a reassuring factor for those who are law abiding,’’ Mr. Osaze-Uzi said.
The director said what people should be concerned was weather the security personnel performed their duties in accordance with their mandate or not.
“The issue should not be whether there is heavy security or not. What we should be focusing on is that do they do their job?
“If you see security men on ground on election day and they behave professionally and in accordance with their mandates to protect the electorate and INEC officials and everybody who came out for legal duty, is that not good?
“As long as they are polite and they do what is expected of them, why should I be complaining ?” he asked.