As the Nigerian presidential and National Assembly holds in Nigeria February 23 to March 3, 2019, a clarion call has been made to Nigerian politicians to leave the military out of politics for peace to reign, even as tension rises in Nigeria.
The only Nigerian first class royal monarch from Osun state, the Olowu of Owu-Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama, Tegbesun III, leading the campaign for support from members of International community to continuously support Nigerian Army in fighting Boko Haram and ending the menace of terrorism in the country is pleading to Western nations to help Nigeria.
The royal monarch has warned politicians not to drag the Nigerian military into politics, raising fears on pressure being mounted on the army, thereby over-heating the polity. Speaking to this reporter, King Makama from south-west Nigeria explained that majority of Traditional rulers in the country believe in the abilities of Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff for their various innovations, transparency in the running of the military affairs and sustaining a continuous battle against terrorists’ activities in Northern part of the nation.
“Based on my status as a traditional ruler who must always be seen as a father of the nation, I will not go into the specifics on different pressures allegedly mounted on the military, especially the Army, but which the military persistently resisted,” states the traditional ruler of Owu–kuta, Osun State.
“Through my consistent observation of our political activities since the return of civilian rule in 1999, I have come to a realization that opposition parties are fond of accusing incumbent of using the military to suppress it before, during and after general elections, with the Army being the worst hit. There is no doubt that this development is unhealthy for our nascent democracy and nation building. It is noteworthy that it creates unnecessary tension in the polity just as it also reduces the military to a dispensable tool in the hands of the political class.”
On the strength of the Nigerian army, he said: “I am appealing to our political parties, as we go into the next general election, to leave the armed forces out of their build-up. Without any fear of contradiction, the armed forces are not only the symbol of our national unity and cohesion, but it is also the defenders of our territorial integrity as its personnel sacrifice their comfort for our peace.”
He appealed to every Nigerian irrespective of religious, political and ethnic leanings to support the military in the fight against insurgency, in order for the strides made in the war to be visible to all.
“As I have said before now, our troops need our individual and concerted support through prayers and positive comments. A situation whereby their efforts are greeted with scornful remarks would naturally kill their morale and also incapacitate their spirit to fight and get desired results,” he said.
Makama also warned Nigerians to be weary of external forces who masquerade as human rights organization but are agents of destabilization while he challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be fair in their conduct of the forthcoming general elections.
BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU
George Elijah Otumu is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in publications in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE); the United Kingdom and the United States.