2023 and National Security: A Defence Chief’s Note to Politicians
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
Politicians, world over, are a ‘distinct’ set of human beings. In our dear country, their breed is even ‘quintessential’, ‘exceptional’ and ‘uncommon’. They are unyielding, ‘resolute’ and ‘stubborn’ in their quest to capture power – at all cost.
Majority of the politicians here in our clime are ones that care less (or even not at all) about the citizenry. But for themselves, families, allies and cronies – alone. Their going into politics is for everything but noble, righteous and sincere purpose, if one may say.
Most of them care little about offering quality service, and exemplary leadership to the teeming masses. It will be a fruitless exercise ascertaining their level of greed, selfishness and penchant for ‘looting’ of government treasury, and crass mismanagement of limited financial resources.
In recent times, orgies of skirmishes, civil unrests and ethno-religious pogroms that claimed precious lives of Nigerians, while deforming countless others, were at times stocked by the reckless, unguarded and divisive utterances of some politicians.
As ethnic jingoists, this set of ‘unpatriotic political elites’ are ‘talented’ and exceedingly derive joy in fanning embers of discord, and violence between their ethnic or religious groups and others.
In the days ahead, it is expected that some of them may even take their repulsive attitude to another level – that will be so confounding albeit benumbing.
Hence, Nigerians who truly worry about the accelerated growth, development and progress of the country, are not keeping still – though some of them are already jittery.
They have started raising an alarm over the looming danger of watching political characters who do not have the interest of the country at heart to wreck its ship, with their bile, nauseating and genocide-inducing postulations – curiously to gain political advantage over their opponents, ahead of the 2023 polls.
General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, however, would not just stop at sueing for peace among Nigerians of various ideological, religious, ethnic and political creeds. It appears the Nigerian Defence Chief will also not be okay with just calling on politicians and their cohorts bent on destroying the vestiges of national unity and peace left in Africa’s Giant, to have a rethink.
He has, with a tone of ‘supreme finality’, told them that Nigeria, as a corporate entity, must remain peaceful as the general elections of 2023 inches forward. This is to say that no political ambition, however lofty, is worth the price of maintaining national unity, peace and security.
Ahead of next year’s polls, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), toeing the path of its helmsman, Gen. Irabor, has also charged politicians to pursue their ambitions within the ambit of the law.
They must allow peace reign in the country by navigating away from actions and comments that can undermine national security as they engage in political campaigns, it insisted.
Gen. Irabor, while reading the riot act to politicians, said that maintaining the relative peace and mutual cohesion among citizens is sacrosanct for troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
He spoke during the bi-weekly briefing with Defence Correspondents in Abuja, today.
According to Irabor: “Nigeria belongs to us, now we are going into a season and everyone of us is desiring that we have a peaceful election and electioneering campaigns.
“I am glad that Mr. President has told the nation what his desires are, but do not think that it is the responsibility of government alone to ensure that we have a peaceful election.
“It is everyone of us that will ensure that we have a peaceful electioneering period so that we can have a country that we will all be proud of, if we don’t have a country there will be no position to aspire for.
“The most important thing regarding the election that is coming, is that we must be men and women that conduct ourselves peacefully and I need you to drive this message home to everyone that for anyone who is looking forward to be elected, he must do it within the ambit of the provisions of the law.
“Because we will not, in anyway, stand aside and see those perpetrating violence all because they are looking for political or appointive offices”.
He added: “Nigeria remains a nation that must live in peace so we must not allow criminals or thugs that have made themselves available for anyone to use, we will not allow it.
“We are standing by the Police to give them every support because going forward Nigeria must be peaceful”.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is Deputy Editor, PRNigeria
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