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Nigeria Military Chiefs Under Attack Over Poll Shift

Chief of Defence Staff in Nigeria, Air Marshall Alex Badeh

By Ignatius Okpara (Enugu), Funmi Adeyi (Lagos) – Nigerian service chiefs have come under serious attack over their involvement in the postponement of the Nigeria’s general elections.

Despite assurances from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that It is ready to conduct the Saturday’s polls, the military however forced the electoral body to shift the polls saying it could not guarantee the safety of poll officials and electorates if election holds on Saturday February 14 as scheduled.

 Chief of Defence Staff in Nigeria, Air Marshall Alex Badeh

Chief of Defence Staff in Nigeria, Air Marshall Alex Badeh

Many believe the military chiefs were merely playing a script written for them by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the presidency.

As a result of the poll shift, mixed reactions have continued to trail the postponement as the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has said it is outraged with the Security Chiefs for embarking on away without leave (AWOL).

“CNPP has no better definition of the blackmail submission of the Security Chiefs that they cannot secure the managers of the general elections, if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insists on holding the elections in February; but as AWOL since less than 10% of the country’s local government areas is under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents.”

“We are at a loss the mileage the Security Chiefs will cover between now and 28 March to crush the Bokom Haram, which warranted the shift of the February polls, or will the poll be shifted again, if the insurgent rages” it asked?’

CNPP, in a statement issued by its publicity secretary, Mr Osita Okechukwu and made available to African Examiner on Sunday said “CNPP is making this assertion, based on our phobia of possible truncation of our fledgling democracy; for we witnessed first hand how our member political parties, some of whom have no candidate for any Parliamentary bid or Governorship were manipulated and compromised by the presidency to support poll elongation”

“We however commend the 21 Resident Electoral Commissioners and 12 political parties that opposed poll-tenure- elongation and pray that there is no further elongation”

“They should take solace on the truism that postponement of examinations cannot assist an indolent student.’

“we wish once again to appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan to place the collective interest of our dear country above personal political survival”

“For whatever happens he should thank his stars for ruling this country for six years” the statement concluded. 

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

Also a Human right organization – the Muslim Right Concern (MURIC), has expressed disappointment over the manner the present administration involves the military in partisan politics, regretting this portends great danger for the country’s democracy growth and advancement.

The group contends that “bastardisation” of the military is bound to undermine its professionalism, while laments the institution presently appears so desperate that rather than playing the role of good sportsmen and true democrats, the duo (FG and Military) have unfortunately prepared to destroy what they cannot enjoy.

Reacting to the late shocking postponement of the February general elections, MURIC in a statement issued Sunday, by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, argued that resorting to the use of security agencies after the Council of States had rejected a postponement exposed the low level FG has sunk.

It therefore held that the reason cited for the postponement was weak, baseless and unfounded, adding that it was the Nigerian army that was involved in the war against the insurgents, not the police.

Professor Akintola established: “Civilized countries do not involve the military in elections. This is strictly a police constituency. This is why the use of soldiers in earlier elections in Ekiti and Osun was roundly condemned by Nigerians.

“The whole gamut smacks of hypocrisy. Both FG and the ruling party pretended to oppose the idea of an election shift ab initio even though it was first muted by a top-ranking government official in far away Britain. Yet they were mobilizing for it and they were the first to welcome it when it was eventually announced”.

The organization cautioned FG not to do anything rash in the interregnum, as well as warned against Nigerians being pushed to the wall.

“We warn against violent reactions by the opposition. We remind security agencies of the need to remain neutral and to play the game according to the rules. We charge all stakeholders to remember that the Nigerian project is not about any individual. It is about our survival as a corporate entity” the group reiterated.

MURIC stressed that it strongly suspected that the security factor was a mere smokescreen, hence, the “real raison d’etre lies in the imminent defeat of the ruling party”, having read between the lines.

It also accused the ruling party of running from pillar to post looking for the magic wand, recalling that it turned to litigation after the main opposition candidate’s certificate imbroglio failed; when attempt to hoodwink the Council of State also hit the rocks, yet the military option.

The group emphasized that the shift was never about security issues, rather “real casus belli is the urgent desire of the ruling party to buy time. The idea is to keep stalling until a sinister plan matures”.


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1 Comment for “Nigeria Military Chiefs Under Attack Over Poll Shift”

  1. What a shame. This will certainly come back to haunt GEJ.

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