The Nigerian military has no intention to take over power in a coup, contrary to the remarks made by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu this week.
Commenting during the senate’s plenary on Wednesday when a motion concerning the alleged undemocratic tendencies of Kogi Gov. Yahaya Bello was being debated, Ekweremadu said: “The problem in Nigeria is that our democracy is receding. Who says army cannot take over? Let us not joke with our democracy; that is the issue.”
The military was unimpressed with Ekweremadu’s allusion and accused him of denigrating the institution and its loyalty to the president. It advised Nigerians and the international community to disregard the comments.
“This statement may appear cautionary and sincere in the atmosphere of discourse, it is however derogatory to the Army used in the expression and by extension to the Armed Forces of Nigeria,” said the Defence Headquarters in a statement released by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen John Agim.
Why the military cannot overthrow the Nigerian government:
Agim explained that the Nigerian Military has come of age and is in tune with best international military practices of complete and total subordination to democratic governance. Some of the factors responsible for that, according to the Defence Headquarters include:
- “Shortly, after the transition from a military to a democratically elected government in 1999, officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, who were quasi-political, were honourably eased out of service. This was done to avoid indoctrination of other officers in the Military in order to enable the democratic government commence a re-professionalisation process of the Armed Forces. The process commenced in collaboration with international organisations, such as the United States Armed Forces and the British Military.
- “By 2009, from the basic military training institutions through units and formation reorientation programmes to top management workshops and seminars for the military, it became clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria has been re-professionalised to be totally subordinate to political leadership and democracy in the Country.
- “In addition, the Nigerian Military began to take the lead at ensuring that the West African Sub Region is stable democratically through military diplomacy and physical actions where it is highly desirable and supported by ECOWAS. The case of the Gambia last year is still fresh in our memories, where democracy was enforced by an ECOWAS Military Coalition led by the Armed Forces of Nigeria, under the focused and abled leadership of Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General AG Olonisakin (NAM).
- “Furthermore, the present crop of personnel in the Armed Forces of Nigeria right from the Service Chiefs to the men; are made up of the balance of re-professionalised officers and fresh intakes from 1999, who do not nurse political ambitions. They are fully committed to their oaths of allegiance to serve their fatherland Nigeria, with total submission to our democratic government.”