Coup call: Retired soldiers back DHQ, say democracy best for Nigeria
Some retired military personnel in the Nigerian military has warned Nigerians calling on the Armed Forces to take over power in the country to stop such call, noting that democracy was the best style of governance for the nation.
The military high command had, again, frowned on comments requesting that it interferes with the democratic process of the country.
Recent allegations of poor welfare among troops, and general widespread suffering occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidies, amongst others had prompted the comment online.
The Defence Headquarters had in a statement by the Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau, on Friday night, described the request as wicked and unpatriotic.
Gusau said, “We wish to state unequivocally that the military is happy and better under democracy and will not get involved in any act to sabotage the hard-earned democracy in our country.”
Reacting to the calls for a military takeover, Maj. Gen. Ishola Williams (retd.), said the military should disregard the calls and cease making statements on the matter.
Williams said, “The announcements by the DHQ have never led to any arrest. If it is true, the military should activate their intelligence to arrest those people calling for a change of government as a deterrent and warning. In Sierra Leone, it was done recently. Some ‘coup mongers’ were arrested.
“The military’s loyalty is not to the president but to the nation. If they know that a coup would be detrimental to the nation, then, they should disregard calls for it.
“That is because of the system of governance in most African countries. In Nigeria, you have a president who is like a god. What do you find the opposition doing? In a presidential system, the president is both the head of the party, the head of the government, and the head of state. These are three roles in one person. This is not a good system.”
He said, “I do believe that democracies at their initial stages would have mistaken and difficulties but as long as one is learning from one’s experiences and taking steps to mitigate these problems be it institutional and citizens alike. Eventually, you would get to where you need to be.
“Democracy offers the best hope for an ordinary man to get to power. I have to emphasise that the fundamentals of democracy have to be there for democracy to thrive.”
He added that the reason why Sub-Saharan Africa was witnessing a lot of coups was because the foundations of democracy were not there.
A retired colonel, Foluso Saka (retd), warned Nigerians against such entreaties, noting that similar outcry in the past emboldened the military to topple democratically elected presidents in the past.
In an interview with Sunday PUNCH, he said, “This was the same way Nigerians did when (the late Sani) Abacha and (Ibrahim) Babaginda took over power. What became of them after they did? Human beings are insatiable.
“Looking at it, do we have the same problem with the Niger Republic? Our problem is internal while theirs is more of an external problem.”
Also reacting, a retired Colonel, Hassan Stan-Labo, stated that from past experience, military rule would not help in solving challenges confronting the country.
“We should not be calling for military intervention. Given our experience with that, it will not solve any problem. Military rule in today’s world is an abomination this will be taking us years backwards. If you call for one and if you don’t have the right person at the helms of affairs we would be back to ground zero,” he noted in an interview