A group known as the Nigeria 2015 Group (UK) has said its members are disturbed by the rumour swirling around that the Nigerian military was beginning to show some interest in politics.
Although yet-to-be substantiated, the group in a statement Wednesday signed by its Communications Officer, Kingsley Ogbonda, pointed out that the fact that the rumour exists gives some concern.
However, they commended the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai for his “brave and patriotic alert of the activities of some soldiers showing interest in politics, and his appeal for the military to stay out of politics,” saying that the civilians tempting the military into politics must “hold their heads in shame.”
They also urged the military to remain constrained by their constitutionally defined role of protecting the territorial integrity of the country from external aggression and remain apolitical.
“That the records show that past military interventions in Nigerian politics badly militated against the political-economic development of the country for which Nigerians are still waiting for genuine contrition from the army in those episodes. Unlike the patriotic nationalist armies of the Asian, Latin American and Arab world, the Nigerian army in politics superintended over the diminution of moral values in the society.
“While the nationalist armies of the developing world were pulling their citizens by their bootstraps out of poverty and onto technological development, ours engaged in an orgy of looting public assets both cash and fixed (oil blocks, privatised public utilities including real estates for personal gains).”
According to the group, “the army still need to explain, why it is that they had always chosen the civilians whom they hand over to when leaving power? If the army has been driven by patriotic duties when in power they would have stylistically nudged out known and certified criminals from shooting and bludgeoning their way to power in sham elections,” it added.
Furthermore, the group noted that while the debate on how to make Nigeria truly democratic and meet the reasonable expectations of Nigerian must be ongoing, they, however, reject the notion that the army would able to provide solutions to challenges in the country.
“The army in no way has better answers than any other professional body. We must be reminded, the Nigerian army has no credibility in managing political power. The Nigerian army should avoid further reducing the standing of the country in the eyes of the world by showing any significant interest in politics.
“If it does, it risks facing an unprecedented resistance unknown in Nigeria’s political history. The Military should be aware that we are in a completely different world in 2017 from the 1990’s. We strongly advise officers who want to engage in politics to honourably resign their commission. There is a huge opportunity for a democratic movement to develop, contest and win elections in Nigeria, which may be an option for former soldiers to consider,” the statement added.