John Alechenu, Eniola Akinkuotu and Olaleye Aluko
The Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked Nigerians to be wary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government as it has corrupted security agencies ahead of the 2019 general elections.
It said the statement by a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), that the military was colluding with unscrupulous individuals should not be dismissed.
The spokesman for the CNM, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said this while responding to allegations by heads of security agencies that there was a plot by some groups to disrupt the 2019 general elections.
The Directors-General of the Department of State Services, Mr. Lawal Daura; and National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Ahmed Rufa’I as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, had raised the alarm over the plans by some groups to disrupt the processes leading to the 2019 elections.
The evil plan, according to them, was for the groups to create a stalemate during the elections.
However, Osuntokun told one of our correspondents that the security heads were acting out the script of the All Progressives Congress.
He said, “It all sounds funny to me. I don’t know any group that meets that description but why would anyone want to disrupt the 2019 elections? The only people that would want to disrupt the elections are the APC which has sensed its imminent defeat.
“If what Gen. Danjuma said is true whereby our protectors have become murderers, then it means they are the ones that should be feared. They are the ones that should be suspected.
“If you can extrapolate from what Gen. Danjuma said, that means Nigerians are at the mercy of the government or the army that is colluding. The people we should fear are (those in ) the government.”
Osuntokun said it was unfortunate that the heads of security agencies were serving a ‘conspiratorial parochial agenda’ as they were protecting the President’s ethnic base.
He added, “Where is the need to reserve the command of the Nigerian military and security services exclusively for the ethno-religious base of the President if it is not to serve a conspiratorial parochial agenda?
“The only group that fits this description of a fictitious fifth columnist agenda is the government itself.”
Security services shouldn’t cause panic –NCP
The National Conscience Party asked Nigeria’s security services to wake up to their responsibilities and should not try to cause panic to achieve pre-arranged objectives.
The National Chairman of the party, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, said this in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH, in Abuja, on Friday.
He was reacting to the news that the nation’s security chiefs had raised the alarm over threats by unnamed groups to scuttle the 2019 general elections.
Tanko said, “That is very unfortunate. I wouldn’t want to say unprofessional; I only hope they are not raising a false alarm as part of a gimmick to short-change Nigerians.
“Security people do a lot of things; I don’t think it is fair for them to send panic or create fear among Nigerians. They are in the government; they are trained and paid to protect us.
“They have the capacity to deal with threats if they know these individuals or groups and they have evidence. What is stopping them from apprehending them?
“It is completely unnecessary for our security officials to try to create a situation of panic. As ordinary citizens, we don’t have the information and capacity they have. If they are now throwing it back to us, what do they expect us to do?
“Who do we move to for protection? It is their duty to ensure that the election is free and fair and not to send fear into the hearts of Nigerians.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Alhaji Abdukadir Abdulsalam, urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and ensure that nothing untoward was done by any individual or group to scuttle the 2019 elections.
Abdulsalam who also spoke in a telephone interview noted that Nigerians owed it a duty to themselves and the nation to remain vigilant while the institutions of the state live up to their responsibility.
“We expect our security officials to do their jobs by ensuring a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after elections.
“We should not become a nation that each time an election is coming we begin to raise security concerns. It does not portray us as a serious country.”
FG must act fast –CACOL, CD
Two civil societies, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership and the Campaign for Democracy have said that the Federal Government must not treat the alarm raised by the security chiefs on the 2019 elections with kid gloves.
The civil societies said the government must reshuffle the military and other security agencies to bring in fresh and efficient hands, devoid of political and economic interests.
The CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “That alarm by security chiefs is a manifestation of the ominous sign of distrust between the serving and retired military officers.
“These are ominous times and the government must not fold its arms. It is a warning that should be taken seriously and everyone who is investigated to have such plans against the 2019 elections must be arrested and prosecuted, no matter whose ox is gored.
“They should be rounded up and made to sign an undertaking for the 2019 elections.”
Meanwhile, the CD President, Usman Abdul, said, “We will not condone any act of sabotaging our democracy. We call on the President to allow those security chiefs who are due for retirement to go. The President must bring in those who are capable of steering the course of the 2019 elections.
“Given these security alerts, the government must not let the 2019 elections go awry. There must be an action immediately and one of such actions is the removal of whoever is deemed inefficient.”