Saturday, February 24, 2024

I Did Not Call For Military Takeover – Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu To Nigerian Army

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has spoken to clear the air. He says he never asked the Nigerian military to carry out a coup.

You would recall that last week, the Nigerian military and Ekweremadu made news after the Army on the floor of the Senate cautioned Nigerian politicians from using their power to fight one another, particularly state governors that use their office to fight lawmakers.

Ekweremadu said the unstable political environment is what gives rise for the military to take over any government. The Nigerian military then issued a statement saying they will never carry out a coup and also pledged their support for the Buhari-led administration.

However speaking at a dinner party organized for parliamentarians by the Bayelsa state governor, Seriake Dickson, over the weekend, Ekweremadu said his statement was taken out of context by the military.

Before I close, let me just tell you one unfortunate incident that happened last week. We had one of our colleagues from Kogi who was hosting a constituency briefing and empowerment. He alleged that the government-sponsored thugs to come and chase away people and destroy the programme and equipment he bought for his people. We condemned such acts, especially where in a particular case, the property of a parliamentarian was destroyed. We condemned a case whereby parliamentarians were stopped from holding meetings and where a parliamentarian was stopped from coming to a state where he was governor for eight years. We warned that it was this kind of reckless abuse of power and impunity that scuttled our democracy earlier, especially in the first republic and I cautioned that politicians should not take things for granted. Of course, some people took it out of context and said I was calling for a military coup. I never called for a military coup. I never said the military was planning any coup. If you read some parts of the military statement, they admitted that my statement and contribution were only cautionary and that we were sincere, but they went as far as saying that the international community should ignore me. I am not asking for an apology, I am only asking for understanding. I hold the Nigerian army and the armed forces in high regard. They are some of the best in Africa. They have defended our democracy, our people and have acquitted themselves in every assignment. So, I am indeed very proud of them. I am one of those people who believe that even our NYSC should be restructured to include some form of military training because they can bring the necessary discipline that can help advance the values of our system. So, I have no reason why l should degrade our military. If they need anything now, it is encouragement because this is not the best of times for them. So, I call on all Nigerians to give them the necessary encouragement. But we do hope that when parliamentarians make statements, they (military) should be able to know exactly what they said before reacting” he said

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