- The PDP has cautioned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, not to drag the military into politics
- The opposition party cautioned the army chief to refrain from acts that will suggest the military is not apolitical
- Buratai had mandated Nigerian Army personnel to carryout President Muhammadu Buhari's order to shoot ballot box snatchers
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to refrain himself from actions that will suggest the military is not apolitical ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The PDP was reacting to Buratai's instructions mandating Nigerian Army personnel to carryout President Muhammadu Buhari's order to shoot ballot box snatchers
The party in a statement sent to Legit.ng by its spokesman, Kola Ologbodiyan on Wednesday, February 20, said President Buhari's order for the army to participate in the electoral process is an aberration of Nigerian laws and a recipe for crisis.
The PDP said its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar cannot be intimidated by any body no matter how highly placed.
“Gen. Buratai is counseled to note that the loyalty of the military is to the state and that the Ppesident lacks the powers, under our laws, to deploy soldiers for the conduct of elections.
“Our party urges Gen 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.
“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,” the party said.
The PDP further counseled President Buhari and Gen. Buratai, to end their rationalizing of military option, stressing that the courts have previously ruled that soldiers are not 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.
“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.
“The PDP therefore cautions 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.
“We urge the international community to note the roles being played by President Buhari, his Federal Executive Council and Gen. Buratai in our electoral process,” the party stated.
Meanwhile, Senator Shehu Sani has raised concerns that President Buhari’s statements on what will befall ‘snatchers of ballot boxes’ can encourage lawless persons to engage in jungle justice.
Sani, the lawmaker representing Kaduna Central senatorial district, said those who sna*ch ballot boxes should rather be arrested and prosecuted to avoid jungle justice.
The lawmaker wrote on Twitter: “Those who attempt to sna*ch or snatched ballot boxes should be arrested and brought to book; this is a better expression to avoid jungle justice or licence for disorder by thugs who may take the law into their hands.”
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