by Musa Abdullahi
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh has disclosed that the era of military rule is gone and the military will continue to respect democratic institutions.
Badeh made the disclosure when he rived members of the National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections visited the Defence Headquarter (DHQ) in his office.
“The era of military rule is gone forever in this country. In fact if there was military rule I am not sure if I could have been here. We are the armed forces of Nigeria and not that of any political party and will be subordinate to the constituted authorities”, he said.
The Defence Chief said that the military leaders are the product of democratic governance and would therefore not embark on any activities that could jeopardize the electoral processes in the country.
He further assured that the military would remain non-partisan while carrying out their legitimate duties of providing the enabling security environment for the Saturday’s elections.
Badeh also commended the efforts of the Peace Committee and expressed gratitude that the roles of the military in the whole electoral processes are being recognized and appreciated.
He said: “The Armed Forces is indeed very proud that members of the peace committee are here to give us a part on the back for what we have done. I want to again thank you for recognizing what we have done in the North East. I remember when we ask more time to embark on what we are doing but their was a lot of misgivings. But we are happy that we are able to ensure that some exercise their choice of who to govern them even though we did not achieve 100 per cent but we are able to secure the major ones.
“We want to say that Nigerian Armed Forces have been participating in the past elections and there was no much misgiving. We as service chiefs where beneficiaries of democracy because we were confirmed by the National Assembly.
“Sir, we promise you as we will replicate even better what we did last elections on the Saturday elections. I am sure we can do better than what we did last time and at least get another pat on the back”.
Early in his remarks, the Leader of National Peace Committee and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), commended the military for providing adequate security in ensuring free, fair and violence free elections. He also commended the Armed Forces for liberating many communities in Nigeria from terrorists.
Also speaking, a member of the Peace Committee, and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, commended the Military for exhibiting maturity and professionalism during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections on March 28, 2015.
Gambari however advised that despite their commendable efforts in the last polls, a lot is still required to ensure that the forthcoming governorship and state assembly elections surpasses expectations.
According to Gambari, the Nigerian military has been responsible for enforcing peace in other areas including Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
“So you have distinguished yourself and proved your professionalism and all we ask is for you to enhance that in the forthcoming elections. We also commend you by ensuring that the people in the north east have the rights to exercise their franchise and we want you to ensure that the job is finished”, he added.