by Musa Abdullahi
The Defence Headquarters has noted the palpable tension being generated in certain quarters with regards to the roles of the Nigerian military in the ongoing political activities and recent developments especially in relation to the electioneering programmes in the country.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo while declaring his support for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) had warned against a military coup in Nigeria.
Major General, Chris Olukolade, Director Defence Information in a statement Wednesday sent to NewsWireNGR said 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.
According to Olukolade, It is also important to reassure Nigerians that the military will while working with all security agencies and stake holders in the process, remain professional, apolitical and non-partisan in all operations or activities related to this crucial exercise.
He said 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.
Statement reads, “In this instance, all military personnel have 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 tend 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.
“While expressing deep appreciation to Nigerians who have remained calm and understanding of 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 recognizes the fact that the nation’s larger interest and her security is sacrosanct and beyond any political expediency or ulterior consideration. It is therefore advised that Nigerians should also endeavor to insulate the military from partisan politics and retain their confidence in its neutrality and sense of patriotism at this critical point.
“Indeed, the leadership, in particular, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs, being products and beneficiaries of the nation’s democratic processes themselves, continue to cherish highly, 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. Nigerians and the 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 will continue to discharge its responsibility to support our democracy as constitutionally guaranteed.”