The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, has declared that security agencies are always under pressure to compromise elections in the country.
He however, urged Nigerians to have implicit confidence in Nigerian military officers and men who will remain totally committed to being neutral and apolitical.
Speaking with newsmen Thursday at the State House, Abuja, the CDS explained that security personnel come under pressure through inducements, noting that necessary measures are being put in place to ensure that security personnel obey President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent directive to maintain neutrality.
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According to him, personnel are being trained to be more professional while rules of engagement before, during and after the elections have been codified and distributed to them.
Reacting to this statement by the military, former Senator and Governorship Aspirant of PDP in Kaduna State, Comrade Shehu Sani said if it is a culture in the political history of Nigeria, then it means what the Chief of Defense Staff said is not very far from the truth.
He stated that since 1999, we have seen how ruling political parties both at the federal and state level try to use the apparatus of the state to manipulate election by the use of force and coercion to ensure that they either win or they retain their offices or seats, and this has been in the last 22 years.
Former service chiefs have been in denial of what has been happening. It has been the case most times in the African continent, not just in Nigeria, where governing parties try to access the instrument of official instrument of force, that is the police, the army and the secret intelligence agencies to their favor.
By this message, it is also sending a note to those in the position of authority, If that has been the case in the past, it is not going to be business as usual in the present.
Mr Sani added that this was also a wake up call to Nigerians by his statement that they have a constitutional, democratic and historic duty to stand up in the defense of democracy and to stand up in the defense of an army that is desirous of being neutral and being apolitical.
The army has a duty to ensure peaceful elections by providing security and also apprehending and using the instruments of the law against those who try to undermine our democratic system.
Irabor has made the statement and that has been well read by Nigerians, what is next is for Nigerians to ensure that nobody at the state and the federal level use force or try to use the army to manipulate the elections.
Speaking further, Mr Sani said from his perspective, this has been something that has been happening for a very long time and for the first time, a Chief of Defense staff is making this publicly clear, which shows that the army is ready to be neutral in this political season in February.
Speaking on the issue of insecurity, Mr Shehu Sani said going through the
unfolding events in our written history, particularly in West Africa, we have seen the resurgence of military rule in Bakino Faso, in Mali and in guinea Bissau.