It was a chaotic session at the plenary of the Senate on Wednesday during deliberations on allegations that there was use of “extreme military force” during the 2019 elections.
Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, had raised a motion alleging the militarisation of the elections, as well as the “inconsistent application of electoral laws by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”.
Seven other lawmakers — senators Mao Ohabunwa (Abia North), Samuel Anyanwu (Imo East), Ahmed Ogembe (Kogi Central), Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central), Matthew Uroghide (Edo South), Clifford Ordia (Edo Central) Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South) — supported the motion.
According to the motion, the lawmakers expressed concerns that “this extreme militarization of a democratic electoral process and the inconsistent application of electoral laws by INEC in matters of national elections pose serious threats to our democracy, and has serious implications that must be nipped in the bud”.
Tempers flayed during the debate as the senators, based on their party loyalties, shouted at one another and almost came to exchanging blows, but for the intervention of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
“Those contributing must restrict themselves to the prayers in the motion,” he said.
After much deliberations on the issue, the Senate resolved to “condemn the massive use of military forces in the national electoral process of the nation; urge INEC to ensure the unrestricted and consistent application of all electoral laws without bias to a candidate or a party in all elections; direct the Senate Committee on INEC to investigate all perceived inconsistent application of electoral laws by INEC in 2019 elections”.
They also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “give assent to the recent Amendment to the Electoral Act to ensure a level playing field and adoption of equal standards in national elections for a strong and peaceful democracy in Nigeria”.