The Nigerian military has slammed former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an embarrassment to the force he once served, hours after Mr. Obasanjo on Monday announced his exit from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Mr. Obasanjo dumped the PDP at a dramatic event in Abeokuta, Ogun State, a move that appeared aimed at forestalling an expulsion by the party.
The military did not rebuke Mr. Obasanjo for leaving the party. It lambasted the former president over his criticisms of the force’s role in the postponement of forthcoming general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had rescheduled elections from February, to March and April, a decision taken at the instigation of the military.
The former president, who has repeatedly criticised President Goodluck Jonathan and his government, said the postponement of the elections was to further the interest of the president.
A statement by the Defence Headquarters on its Facebook page said the retired general constituted a serious embarrassment to the military before everyone with reasonable judgment of the values and standard to statesmanship.
“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,” the statement said.
The military said Mr. Obasanjo, a retired general, must understand that Nigeria’s armed forces has developed beyond how he left it, and that the world has moved beyond that “parochial and self-adulating reasoning and mind-set the Mr. Obasanjo seems stuck to”.
“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 nonpartisan commitment to duty and fatherland,” the statement said.
The DHQ said, “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 said that while the military desired to respect the old general and his views, it became necessary to point out that his conduct and utterances of late have fallen short of the standard of discipline expected of an individual who has had the privilege of service in the military.
The statement urged Mr. Obasanjo to encourage the military rather than accuse it of ulterior motives, all for the purpose of discrediting decisions related to the military’s roles in the polity.
It also said unlike many insinuations that the Nigerian military is inept, the institution is neither incapable nor misused for political ends as the Mr. Obasanjo may believe.