‘Defence Headquarters will like to encourage Chief Obasanjo to be genuinely interested in the growth and sustenance of Nigeria’s democratic credentials.’
Augustine Osayande in Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) on Monday described former military Head of State and civilian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as a ‘serious embarrassment to the military’.
The DHQ in a statement, titled: “Military Calls On Obasanjo to Show Understanding,” said it had been following the utterances of the former Head of State and observed that: “It is however noteworthy that most of his utterances lately indicate an attitude of playing to the gallery or indulging in politicization of serious national security or military affairs.”
It said: “The behavior of retired General (Chief) Obasanjo has been so unbecoming and continues to constitute a serious embarrassment to the military before all who have reasonably and rightly adjudged the essence of military background in terms of the high value and standard it tends to contribute to statesmanship.”
The military further said: “We feel constrained to remind the old General that the world has moved beyond that parochial and self-adulating reasoning and mindset which he seems stuck to. Indeed, he needs to be told that by virtue of their better training, exposure, education, assessment and environment, the military personnel of today are already far beyond his level in their appreciation of democracy and it’s indispensability for the stable and prosperous society which Nigerians cherish.
“In this instance, the military wishes to inform the retired General, that the institution which he bequeathed to the nation has certainly developed beyond how he left it. The Nigerian military is now better placed to strive for the maintenance of the legacies and ethos of service, valour, subordination to constituted authorities, and non-partisan commitment to duty and fatherland.
“It has to be restated that the military as an institution, is neither as inept in the discharge of its duties, nor is it being misused for political ends in the manner the retired General Obasanjo who was also a former President has possibly been made to believe.
“Indeed, the system now strongly believes in Democracy as well as its structures and institutions to the extent that it will do nothing whatsoever to undermine or truncate the steady growth and development of the nation’s democracy. The military will remain professional as it keeps doing its best along with others to ensure adequate security and defence of the nation’s territorial integrity in this auspicious period in the country.
“The Defence Headquarters will like to encourage Chief Obasanjo to be genuinely interested in the growth and sustenance of Nigeria’s democratic credentials.
Expressing disappointment over Obasanjo’s dwindling grasp of the workings of the modern day military, the armed forces said: “He is also enjoined to endeavor to improve in his understanding of intricate issues and try to encourage the military rather than continue with this tendency to indulge in imputation of ulterior motives to every effort, all for the purpose of discrediting well thought out policies or decisions related to the military’s roles in the polity.
“The support of all well-meaning elderly Nigerians remains vital in the onerous duty of working for the stability, defence, and peace of our country under duly constituted authorities in a democratic environment.
“For instance, the comments credited to Chief Obasanjo alleging that the postponement of the General Elections was to enable President Jonathan to use the Service Chiefs to plot a tenure extension is to say the least, very surprising. It is surprising indeed, considering the fact that the retired General chose to ignore the clarification and emphatic assurances of non-partisanship of the military as declared in a DHQ statement on the position of the Armed Forces in the ongoing political activities. His motive as usual remains unknown but it is certainly less than noble or well intentioned. We dare say again that Chief Obasanjo’s assertions are false.
“Much as the military desires to respect the old General and his views, it has become necessary to point out that his conduct and unguarded utterances of late has fallen short of the standard of discipline expected of an individual who has had the privilege of service in the military and risen to the status of a General.