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Service Chiefs at Buhari’s flag-off

WATCHERS of our 19 year-old democracy are getting increasingly worried at the prospects of a free and fair conduct of the 2019 general elections.

Critics of the President Muhammadu Buhari government and the opposition parties have continued to express their unease at the increasingly brazen antics of our military, security and anti-corruption chiefs, which portray them as not being above partisan politics enough.

File: President Buhari with Minister of Defence Dan Ali Monsur, Chief of Defense Staff General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen. T.Y. Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral IE Ibas and Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar as he receives briefing from Service Chiefs in State House on 10th Oct 2017

On May 15 this year, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, appeared on Channels TV wearing on his coat lapel the re-election badge of President Buhari. He has also been probing the finances of opposition states such as Ekiti (during Governor Ayo Fayose’s regime) Benue and Akwa Ibom) while ignoring video evidences of alleged bribery in Kano.

Also, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has severally been accused of lending police officers to harass the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; and also helping minority assemblymen to illegally attempt the impeachment of Benue and Akwa Ibom governors.

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The latest outrage was the appearance of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the launch of APC’s “Next Level”-themed presidential campaign at the Aso Villa, Abuja on Sunday, November 25, 2018.The Presidency reacted to the ensuing uproar, pointing out that the military Chiefs “did not know” the event was political in nature and had to leave the venue before the President arrived.

The question is: How could they not have known this was the flag-off of President Buhari’s re-election campaign?   Unfortunately, it was at about the same moment that Boko Haram launched the most painful attack on our troops in Metele, Borno State, killing about 118 officers and casting doubts over the regime’s much-trumpeted decimation of the terrorists.

These Service Chiefs have presided over the greatest period of national insecurity since the Civil War.

Boko Haram has regrouped with venom; armed herdsmen have slaughtered thousands of Nigerians and seized many communities, while bandits have taken over large parts of the North-West in a reign of terror. The calls by Nigerians for the Service Chiefs to be replaced have fallen on deaf ears, giving rise to speculations they could be used to compromise the 2019 elections.

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Like other Nigerians, we are worried by these ominous developments. We call on the Federal Government to ensure our military, security and anti-graft organisations and officials stay out of partisan politics. The eyes of Nigerians and the international community are watching.

They will not accept anything less than the free, fair and credible conduct of the 2019 elections.

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