Nigeria military authorities, accused recently of getting involved in politics, especially with politics of General Buhari’s certificate, have now pleaded that they would stay clear of democracy and concentrate on their primary roles.
The Defence Headquarters affirmed that the military would not subvert the democratic process but to discharge its responsibility of supporting democracy as guaranteed in the Constitution.
In a statement, the Director of the Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade said that the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs, being products and beneficiaries of the nation’s democratic process would continue to cherish the nation’s democracy.
“They will therefore not engage in, condone or encourage any act that has capacity to undermine or subvert any aspect of the democratic processes,” he pledged.
Olukolade said Nigerians and friends of the country should be reassured that the Nigerian Armed Forces believes strongly in the prospects of the country under a democratic rule and would continue to discharge its responsibility to support our democracy as constitutionally guaranteed.
He said the clarification had become necessary having noted the palpable tension being generated in certain quarters with regards to the role of the Nigerian military in the ongoing political activities and recent developments especially in relation to the electioneering programmes in the country.
“Accordingly, it has become necessary to reassure all citizens that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remains committed to its duty in working to ensure the sustenance of peace, law, order and stability in the country before, during and after the forthcoming elections.
“It is also important to reassure Nigerians that the military will while working with all security agencies and stakeholders in the process, remain professional, apolitical and non-partisan in all operations or activities related to this crucial exercise.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria is quite conscious of the fact that apart from its primary constitutional role of defending the country from external aggression and internal insurrection, it also has the responsibility of providing support in aid of civil authority such as the need to provide complementary security arrangement to protect our electoral process.
“It is on record that the military has successfully lived up to its responsibility while discharging this duty during previous elections without equivocation,” he stated.
Olukolade said all military personnel had been reminded and warned to remain ever conscious of their service oath and solemn commitment to protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even while remaining loyal to constituted authorities in the country.
“No excuse will be acceptable for any act of commission or omission that tends to compromise the law or the electoral process as well as decent conduct or judgment on the part of any service personnel while discharging duties related to elections in any part of the country,” he stated.
He thanked Nigerians for remaining calm and understanding the peculiarity of the security challenges being managed by the Armed Forces at this auspicious period in the nation’s history.
“The military is unequivocally assuring all citizens that it recognises the fact that the nation’s larger interest and her security are sacrosanct and beyond any political expediency or ulterior consideration,” he stated.
Olukolade then advised Nigerians to always endeavour to insulate the military from partisan politics and retain their confidence in its neutrality and sense of patriotism at this critical point.
Meanwhile, a detachment of soldiers from the 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze which stormed Government House, Owerri, on Tuesday and barricaded it with amoured vehicles had since vacated the place.
It was learnt that security had been beefed up within the seat of power with visitors thoroughly checked before being allowed in.
At the secretariat of APC which situates adjacent the imposing Imo State University Roundabout, there was heavy presence of security men with Hilux patrol vehicles stationed at the main entrance. [myad]