A foremost Yoruba monarch, the Olowu of Owu-Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama, has commended the Nigerian Army for its noble role in the fight against insurgents and armed banditry across the country.
The monarch gave the commendation at a world press conference held in Lagos on Tuesday.
In the text of his speech titled: “While Politicians think about next election, Royal Father think about secured and safe country,” Oba Makama said there was the need for improved budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Defense which will bring about accelerated equipping of the Nigerian military to confront the challenges of modern urban and conventional warfare.
The monarch expressed happiness that all the reasons adduced for the postponement of the election by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, our Armed Forces were never accused of bias in the discharge of their duties.
Oba Makama saluted the courage of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, for his professionalism despite the daunting task to contain the Boko Haram insurgency and other crimes.
He went further to plead with politicians across board not to play politics with our Armed Forces being the symbol of our unity.
He implored all the presidential candidates to keep to the peace accord they subscribed to recently, bearing in mind that we must have country first before any other thing.
The monarch also highlighted many innovations and tactical efforts of the Army under the leadership of Buratai.
He said: “I invited you to share my thoughts about our country and the Armed Forces. Some of you are familiar with my intervention on the need to support our Armed Forces in order to boost their morale for optimum performance. In my previous media interactions, I called for support for the Nigerian Armed Forces from both local and International Community since the whole world is a global village in order to defeat the Boko Haram insurgent and other groups in the country threatening our internal cohesion.
“I say with every sense of responsibility that contemporary governance has informally imposed some social-political duties on us as Royal Father such that we can no longer fold our arms and watch things go awry.
“I am happy that of all the reasons adduced for the postponement of the election by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakub, our Armed Forces were never accused of bias in the discharge of its duties. In fact, two days before the election was postponed, our Armed Forces announced to provide support for the police and other security agencies deployed for the election if the need arises. And despite the attack on the convoy of Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima and the attack on Buni Yadi, our Armed Forces was able to dislodge the insurgent and restore hope. I salute the courage of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai for his professionalism despite the daunting task to contain the Boko Haram and other banditry I want to plead with our politicians across board not to play politics with our Armed Forces being the symbol of our unity. I also want to urge all the presidential candidates to keep to the peace accord they subscribe to recently, bearing in mind that we must have country first before any other thing. The rescheduled election slated for February 23 and March 09,2019 should be approached with open minded. The winner should be magnanimous in victory while the runners up should concede defeat. If the election is about the masses as they want us to believe, there should be no ‘Victor nor Vanquished.’ It should be about our country Nigeria first.
“My appeal to all the gladiators is to eschew violence. Nothing should be done to jeopardize the peace and the template set by ex -President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2015.
“Through my consistent observation of our political activities since the return of civilian rule in 1999, I have come to a realization that opposition parties are fond of accusing incumbent of using the military to suppress it before, during and after general elections, with the Army being the worst hit.
“There is no doubt that this development is unhealthy for our nascent democracy and nation building. It is noteworthy that it creates unnecessary tension in the polity just as it also reduces the military to a dispensable tool in the hands of political class.
“However, findings, which are based on empirical evidences, have shown that Nigeria Army operates above partisan politics, regardless of pressure mounted on it to do otherwise.
“On the strength of this, I am appealing to our political class that as we go into the rescheduled elections to leave the armed forces out of their build-up to the elections. Without any fear of contradiction, the armed forces is not only the symbol of our national unity and cohesion, it is also the defenders of our territorial integrity as its personnel sacrifice their comfort for our peace.
“The Armed Forces is an institution above ethno-political and religious ills, the destructive factors which sets a nation back, and set the people up for crisis. Therefore, I cannot but award a credit mark to our armed forces on their journey so far in taming the hydra-headed monster known as Boko Haram terrorists.
“Of course, the journey from 2009 till date has not been easy. Many lives of our patriotic soldiers have been lost, with many injured during different clashes with the rebellious groups in the North-east and armed banditry in some North western states.
“However, recent news from Nigerian Army Headquarters has been cheery, and also gives HOPE that the end of those criminal elements is in sight if the tempo is sustained and, intensified when there is need for such.
“Happily, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai has again demonstrated his determination to deny the terrorists respite and as their enclaves are constantly bombarded.
“The strong demonstration of this strong resolve saw to the inauguration of the Special Motor Cycle Section of 117 Task Force Battalion’s Quick Response Group in Chibok, Borno State.
“According to Buratai the unit aims and objectives are to enhance quick counter-offensive and ‘ smoking’the terrorists completely out of their enclaves. With this innovative idea, the insurgents have been dealt severe blows and it is just a matter of time before the Boko Haram insurgents run out of steam and fall.”
Civil society organizations and traditional rulers present at the ceremony were Eze Dr. Pat Eneh, Eze Dioranma; His Royal Highness Mohammed Bambado, Sarkin Fulani of Lagos; Shina Loremikan of Huridag; and Wale Adeoye of JODER.