By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has charged the Nigerian Army to remain impartial in its handling of democratic institutions.
Governor Makinde, who stated this while speaking as the Special Guest of Honour at the 2019 edition of Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship, held at the 2nd Mechanised Division, Odogbo Cantonment, Ibadan, said that the Army must maintain the level of neutrality it achieved during the 2019 election.
The Governor urged the Army to raise the bar of its contribution to election security during the Kogi and Bayelsa states Governorship elections holding on November 16.
He assured the Nigerian Army of his government’s support and cooperation in other to secure the State, adding that his administration would continue to sustain and improve on the cordial civil-military relations existing between the Army and the government and people of Oyo State.
The Chief of Army Staff, Major-Gen. TY Buratai, who was represented by Major-General Abubakar Tarfa, Chief of Training and Doctrine of the Nigerian Army, and other top military officers, had paid Governor Makinde a courtesy visit in his office at the Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, earlier in the day.
Tarfa, who spoke on behalf of the delegation to the Government Secretariat, said the delegation was in Ibadan for the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship 2019, being hosted by the 2 Division Nigerian Army, Odogbo Cantonment, Ibadan.
In his speech during the courtesy visit, Governor Makinde appreciated the Army for the good work it was doing for the country in areas where there were security challenges.
He acknowledged the military’s professionalism during the last governorship election in Oyo State, noting that the impartiality and unbiased roles of the military enhanced his chances of winning the election.
He said: “Let me, once again, use this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Army for the role it played during the governorship election in Oyo State. We have two elections coming this week for two states and I believe the Army will remain impartial. They will provide the needed coverage to ensure it is peaceful and that everything goes on smoothly.
“I am saying this because during my election, I witnessed the impartiality of the Army. The performance was superb, excellent and I am proud about it.”
Makinde further commended the military for the good work it was doing for the country in the areas where there were security challenges, just as he commended the new GOC of 2 Division Nigerian Army, Odogbo Cantonment, Ibadan, for the cordial relationship that exists between the Army and the people of the State.
Similarly, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Championships, Governor Makinde said: “I am particularly delighted with your decision to choose Oyo State as the host for this championship event. My presence here is so as to be identified with the Nigerian Army. This is no doubt as a result of my admiration and, indeed, my appreciation of the good work that the Nigerian Army is doing all over the country and particularly in Oyo State. I thank you most profoundly for your relentless effort in securing this nation.
“On behalf of the government and the good people of Oyo State and on my part, I want to assure the Chief of Army Staff and indeed all the officers and soldiers in the Nigerian Army that our administration is committed to sustaining and further improving on the cordial civil-military relations that exist between the Nigerian Army, the government and the people of Oyo State.
“I want to also say that in no uncertain terms, the impact of the achievements of the Nigerian Army in Oyo State has added greater value, respect, honour and dignity to our perception as a people about the Army. The Army today seems to have played more role in its contributions to civil authority than at any other time in the history of our dear nation. Worthy of note is the fight against insurgency in the North-Eastern part of the country in which the Army has ensured that the situation has been largely contained.
“In similar vein, we have noted with deep appreciation the effective curtailment of the notorious activities of the rampaging criminal herdsmen in sustaining operation against armed bandits, kidnappers, cultists and other perpetrators of criminal activities and saboteurs to critical national infrastructures. I commend the efforts of the Nigerian Army for a job well done.
“I am equally glad that the Army has recorded these achievements without prejudice to its respect for the rules of law and subordination to the civil authority. I noted the achievements of Operation Burst in Oyo State where the Army played the lead role. Therefore, I wish to use this occasion to commend the gallant officers and soldiers of 2Division of Nigerian Army Ibadan in particular for their untold sacrifices towards ensuring that the security and development of our nation is of priority.
“It is instructive to note that many of you have indeed paid the supreme price in so doing. I therefore urge you to maintain and sustain the tempo.
“The present day Nigerian Army is noted for its adherence to the international best practices of human rights, cordial civil-military cooperation and greater participation in the activities of the host community. All these impacts are highly noted and well-appreciated. In this regard, the commencement of exercise Crocodile Smile 4 in 2 Division’s areas of responsibilities is highly commendable.
“Sure, we will have a crime-free yuletide season, because of this important exercise. I also want to assure you that the government will continue to support and cooperate with the Nigerian Army in other to reap the full dividend of peace and security. I have and will continue to consider the Army Barracks and Cantonments in Oyo State as part of our Constituency.”
During the courtesy visit to the Governor, Major-General Tarfa said that the visit to the governor was to commend Oyo State government for its support to the military, urging the governor and the government of Oyo state to continue the cordial relationship.