The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of plotting to politicise and compromise the military by allegedly dragging in Nigeria’s service chiefs to attend and participate in his re-election campaign rally.
A statement signed by the party’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Monday describes the appearance of the military chiefs at the launch of the event tagged Next Level on Sunday as completely unacceptable and objectionable.
The party said the move “and sends a very wrong signal to the public regarding the expected professionalism, neutrality and detachment of the institution of the military from partisan politics and cannot be justified under any guise.”
Accusing Buhari of desperation to rig and foist himself on the nation in the 2019 election, the opposition party said the president will stop at nothing in his attempt to compromise and desecrate the country’s institutions, “but doing so on the military is a clear invitation to crisis and derailment of our democracy.”
The PDP insists that the state and particularly its apparatus of power must be separated from partisan politics, cautioning President Buhari “not to further divide the nation and set the people on collusion course with security forces, as such will spell doom for our nation.”
Responding, the Presidency described has media report on the appearance and departure of some service chiefs from the venue of the launch as “absolutely unnecessary”.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, made this position known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
Mr Shehu explained that the service chiefs had wanted to witness the event only to leave before it got underway after discovering the nature of the event.
The statement reads: “the media should have asked what brought the service chiefs to the “Next Level 2019” event at the State House, only to leave before it got underway.
“They were mistaken in their assumption that this was a non-political event, to showcase the achievements of the administration, the success of which they are part.
“Hardly were they seated than did the Minister of Defence, retired Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali asked them to leave as this was a political gathering.
“They quickly left, even before the arrival of the President and for the event to get underway. The fuss over this is therefore absolutely unnecessary.”