The National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress,Chief John Oyegun, has slammed Nigeria’s military chiefs over their role in the postponeponement of the General elections by six weeks.
According to him, the military made a curious u-turn after they had initially given assurances about their preparedness for the February 2015 election.
Oyegun addressed journalists on Monday in reaction to the postponement announced late Saturday night by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega.
The APC chairman said, “On the 2nd of February, at the National Peace Committee meeting in Abuja with the representatives of different political parties, the service chiefs gave assurances of their readiness for the elections. At the occasion, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh gave assurances of the Armed Forces’s preparedness for the elections.
“According to him ‘even though we are busy in the North East, we also have capabilities across the nation.’ Badeh also admitted that the role of the military is merely to support the police in providing security during elections. At the same event, Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah said, “we are aware of the need for security, before, during and after the elections. We will deploy across the States of the Federation in areas we discover that have capacity for violence. We are prepared to ensure we have peaceful elections.”
“Also speaking at the event, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Adesola Amosun said ‘we have commenced the air lift of the materials needed for the elections, starting from Abuja. We will continue with the elections.”’
“The sum total of all these is that only 12 days before the elections and despite the state of insecurity in the North East, the entire military high command assured the nation of their readiness to provide security for the elections. However, only 3 days later on Friday February 6th, these same Service Chiefs wrote to INEC, in a letter, which by all practical purposes could be described as blackmail, saying that they would no longer be able to provide security for the elections? What happened in those 72 hours that brought about this complete volte face?”
Oyetunji said that the action negated the Spirti and the letters of the decisions reached at the National Council of States meeting o Thursday February 5th, where the INEC reaffirmed its readiness and commitment to hold the elections as scheduled.
According to him, the consensus of opinion at this august body of eminent citizens was that elections should go ahead nationwide except the 14 LGAS identified as problematic by the security chiefs. The service chiefs had noted the difficult of conducting such elections on February 14 especially as concerned with the 14 local government areas under the control of militants.
Oyegun added, “After all, it was recalled that in 1999, elections were not held in Bayelsa State because of the activities of militants at the time, but it held all over the country. The activities of Boko Haram were clearly limited to 14 Local Governments in three States out of 774 Local Governments in 36 States and FCT. How would this then warrant the blanket postponement of elections in the entire country? Considering all factors building up to this postponement, it is difficult not to come to the obvious conclusion that the Military High Command is in an unholy and dangerous alliance with the ruling party, the PDP, to subvert the democratic will of the people. We have no doubts that the letter sent to the INEC, warning it not to proceed with the elections, emanated from the Service Chiefs’ hands of Esau and President Jonathan’s voice of Jacob.
“Isn’t it curious that only the PDP and its supporters are celebrating the postponement? We know that at the Council of State meeting, all the former Heads of State in attendance spoke against the postponement except in the 14 LGAs and all the former Chief Justices’ also concurred. And every non-PDP Governor present in the meeting spoke against postponement”
“The greatest threat to our democracy today is the way the ruling party has compromised the leadership of the Nigerian military to serve the personal agenda of President Jonathan. This is a dangerous game. A recent court judgment in Sokoto clearly ruled that the military had no role in the electoral process. What happened with this postponement is that Service Chiefs simply vetoed a democratic process on the directive of President Jonathan. We know what politicisation is doing to our once proud military institution.”
he further alleged plot by the presidency to use the military to rig President Jonathan.
Oyegun alleged, “We are aware that the Presidency has forwarded a secret memo to all commanders of divisions and battalions of Nigerian Army for a 3-day strategy meeting in Kaduna from today on how to use the military to intimidate voters in APC States to rig election in favour of President Jonathan. Since recent revelations about the role of the military in Ekiti elections is demonstrable proof of how far this government will go to compromise the military as an institution, could it be that when the Service Chiefs said they would not have enough personnel to provide security for the elections, what they are actually saying is that they would not have enough soldiers to intimidate voters in favour of the ruling party if the elections had proceeded as scheduled?”