The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cried out against dragging the military into partisan politics by the President Muhammadu Buhari All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, claiming that by so doing Buhari has suspended the country’s Constitution and assumed the position of an emperor.
‘’It is imperative to state that by trying to drag the military to participate in the February 23 Presidential elections, President Buhari plots to suspend our constitution, assume the position of an emperor, trigger unrest, subvert our electoral process and derail our democracy’’, PDP said and accordingly cautioned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to refrain himself from acts or actions that will suggest in any way that the military has become an arm of a political party.
Surprisingly, the Executive Council of the Federal Government seems to be in support of the politisation of the military. The Council is in support of the death threat for would be ballot box snatchers, by President Buhari.
This declaration of support is coming on the heels of similar orders by the Inspector General of Police Mohammed, on Wednesday. The police big boss said those who plan to intimidate and snatch ballot boxes should be prepared for the consequences.
‘’I mean if you want to intimidate voters to steal the mandate of the people, you should be able to face the wrath of the law’’, he said, pointing out that every member of the Executive arm of government ‘’absolutely’’ backed the president on the order claiminging that Buhari wants a free and fair election.
Meanwhile, PDP Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, says Buratai’s allusion to the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as well as his threats to officers and ranks to execute the unlawful order by President Buhari to participate in the electoral process is an aberration of our laws and a recipe for crisis.
According to the PDP, Atiku Abubakar spoke on the side of the law and wishes of Nigerians and cannot be intimidated by any body no matter how highly placed. Buratai is counseled to note that the loyalty of the military is to the state and that the President lacks the powers, under our laws, to deploy soldiers for the conduct of elections.
‘’We are urging Buratai to concentrate on his very demanding assignment of protecting the territorial integrity of our nation and ending insurgency rather than dabbling into partisan politics at the risk of our national cohesion.
While directing President Buhari to the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos on March 23, 2015, wherein the court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba, directly outlawed the deployment of troops in the conduct of elections in the country, PDP added, ‘’President Buhari should also avail himself of the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on February 15, 2015, held that the President has no powers to deploy soldiers in the conduct of elections.’’
The party further advised President Buhari and Buratai to end their rationalising of military option, as the courts have summarily dismissed their arguments that soldiers are needed to guarantee peaceful elections.
‘’It may interest President Buhari to know that the judgment was sequel to a suit filed by the APC Leader in the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, seeking a declaration that deployment of soldiers during elections is illegal and unconstitutional.
‘’In case, President Buhari is not aware, as usual, the court directly held that the Armed Forces have no role in elections and if soldiers must vote, they must do so in their barracks. According to the court, the time has come for us to establish the culture of democratic rule in the country and to start to do the right thing particularly when it has to do with dealing with the electoral
process, which is one of the pillars of democracy.
‘’In spite of the behaviour of the political class, we should by all means try to keep armed personnel and military from being a part and parcel of the electoral process. The state is obligated to confine the military to their very demanding assignment, especially in this time of insurgencies by keeping them out of elections.
‘’The priming of the military ahead of the election, therefore, heightens the fear of plots by the APC to plunge our nation into crisis and use security forces to subjugate Nigerians, seeing that President Buhari has no chance of winning the February 23 Presidential Election.
‘’We therefore caution President Buhari not to allow his desperation to push him to corrupt the patriotism of our military and use them against innocent Nigerians, whose only demand is for a free, fair and credible election, and urge the international community to note the roles being played by President Buhari, his Federal Executive Council and Buratai in our electoral process.’’