Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, has ruled out the possibility of a military takeover as Nigeria transits from the current administration to another, saying the era of military rule in the country is gone.
Mr. Badeh said Thursday that the Nigerian military will continue to respect democratic institutions in the country.
He spoke while receiving members of the National Peace Committee for the 2015 general elections.
“The era of military rule is gone forever in this country. In fact if there was military rule I am not sure if I could have been here,” Mr. Badeh, an air chief marshal, said. “We are the armed forces of Nigeria and not that of any political party and will be subordinate to the constituted authorities.”
He said the military leadership is a product of democratic governance and would not embark on activities that could jeopardize Nigeria’s electoral process.
“I remember when we asked for more time to embark on what we are doing but there was a lot of misgiving. But we are happy that we are able to ensure that some exercise their choice of who to govern them. Even though we did not achieve 100 per cent, but we are able to secure the major ones,” he said.
The defence chief also assured Nigerians that the military will remain non-partisan in carrying out its responsibilities during the governorship and state assembly elections on Saturday.
A former military head of state and leader of the peace committee, Abdulsalami Abubakar, commended the military for providing adequate security in ensuring free, fair and violence-free elections.
Mr. Abubakar also commended the armed forces for liberating most communities in the North East from Boko Haram insurgents.
A member of the committee, Ibrahim Gambari, commended the military for its professionalism during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
He however called for improvement during the forthcoming gubernatorial election. He said the military has been responsible for enforcing peace in other areas including Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
“So you have distinguished yourself and proved your professionalism and all we ask is for you to enhance that in the forthcoming elections. We also commend you by ensuring that the people in the North East have the rights to exercise their franchise and we want you to ensure that the job is finished,” Mr. Gambari said.