Agene AKHERE, Benin
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says the Nigerian Army must remain loyal to the nation rather than be reduced to defending the tenure of an individual, saying presidents will come and go, governors will come and go but the Nigerian nation will remain.
Speaking while receiving the General Officer Commanding 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Major General Sanusi Muazu, Oshiomhole said no political office holder should get so desperate and try to use the military to boost personal ambition.
According to him: “The reason why this has become an issue is because of the nature of our politics and the way political actors have put their personal interest over and above the national interest. Presidents would come and go; governors would come and go, whether they are good or bad. Even the Armed Forces commander would come and go but the institution of the Nigeria Armed Forces would remain. Once we can distinguish between the person and the office, the institutions and the player, we may not have crisis.
“I believe that the forthcoming election with all the tension that people are raising, with all the speculation that Nigeria would have crisis, to me I have seen all these before and the God that created this country would ensure that after all the fog, the weather would be clear. Nigeria would stay.”
Oshiomhole noted: “It is the peace and security of the part that determine the character of peace and security of the whole. The Armed Forces must see themselves as the Nigeria Armed Forces and not the Armed Forces of the Commander in Chief, or of the Governor. The Commander in Chief is to be elected by very ordinary people.
“The right of the people to vote for who will be president is a right that must be defended and upheld. Once the process is clean, the outcome does not matter. In a democracy, the people deserve the kind of president they want. He is a product of election and not imposition.
“So I ask you to do everything you can to keep that confidence that the army understands that their mandate is to defend the territorial integrity of the Nigerian nation and not the security of tenure of any political office holder regardless of the level.
Oshiomhole added: “I am a believer that this country has to be held together and many people look up to us but sometimes when I listen to statements made by other countries especially, those that Nigerian rescued in the past, I begin to wonder that those Nigeria tutored on the art of democracy have now become our tutors.
Oshiomhole said: “We will do our best to continue with the armed forces as an integral part of this state and we trust that you will ensure that the vote counts and that no selfish officer allows himself to be used to intimidate electoral officers. Nobody understands the need for peace and security more than the Nigerian Army”.
Earlier, in his remarks, Major General Sanusi Muazu commended the governor for his developmental strides and his support to the officers and men of the Nigerian Army in the state.
He said: “I decided to visit Edo first among the eight states under my control because it is important to the Nigerian Army and the 2 Division and I promise to consolidate on the peace and security prevailing in the state.”
The general added: “I know Edo state very well and I know what you have achieved here since you became Governor.
“I want to assure you that the Division will discharge on its constitutional responsibility. I want to thank you for the support the Army and the 4 Brigade is enjoying from the state Government. I want to assure you that the Division will continue to provide security in the state.”
The GOC was accompanied on the visit by very senior officers in the Division including Brig.-General O Laleye, Commander, 4 Brigade, Benin.