In a rather unexpected twist of events, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been described as an embarrassment to the military, by the Defence Headquarters.
The DHQ made the comment on Monday in a statement posted on its Facebook page while reacting to a statement credited to the former president that the 2015 general elections were postponed to enable President Goodluck Jonathan use the service chiefs for tenure extension.
The DHQ accused Obasanjo of politicizing serious national security and military issues, adding that while his (Obasanjo’s) intentions remained unclear, his motives for making such utterances were less than noble.
The statement, nonetheless, stressed that Obasanjo’s claims were false.
The statement read in part, “The Defence Headquarters has noted the remarks of a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as reported in the media stating his views on perceived state of the armed forces and the roles being allegedly played by the military in the nation’s political process in recent times.
“It is however noteworthy that most of his utterances lately indicate an attitude of playing to the gallery or indulging in politicisation of serious national security or military affairs. For instance, the comments credited to Chief Obasanjo alleging that the postponement of the General Elections was to enable President Jonathan use the Service Chiefs to plot a tenure extension, is to say the least, very surprising.
“It is surprising indeed, considering the fact that the retired General chose to ignore the clarification and emphatic assurances of non-partisanship of the military as declared in a DHQ statement on the position of the Armed Forces in the ongoing political activities. His motive as usual remains unknown but it is certainly less than noble or well intentioned. We dare say again that Chief Obasanjo’s assertions are false.
“Much as the military desires to respect the old General and his views, it has become necessary to point out that his conduct and unguarded utterances of late has fallen short of the standard of discipline expected of an individual who has had the privilege of service in the military and risen to the status of a General.
“The behavior of retired General Obasanjo has been so unbecoming and continues to constitute a serious embarrassment to the military before all who have reasonably and rightly adjudged the essence of military background in terms of the high value and standard it tends to contribute to statesmanship.
“We feel constrained to remind the old General that the world has moved beyond that parochial and self-adulating reasoning and mindset which he seems stuck to. Indeed, he needs to be told that by virtue of their better training, exposure, education, assessment and environment, the military personnel of today are already far beyond his level in their appreciation of democracy and it’s indispensability for the stable and prosperous society which Nigerians cherish”.
The statement pointed out that the military institution bequeathed to the country had developed beyond where Obasanjo left it and was more committed to the maintenance of the ethos of service of the military, valour, subordination to civil authorities and adherence to nonpartisan discharge of their responsibilities.
The DHQ stressed that the military was not inept and could not have been misused in the manner presented by the Owu chief.
The statement added that the military had such a strong belief in democracy and its structures and institutions that it would not do anything to undermine it.
It, therefore, challenged Obasanjo to indicate genuine interest in the growth and sustenance of the nation’s democracy as well as improve his understanding of complex issues involving the military and to encourage the services rather than imputing ulterior motives to security efforts.