*President pledges more funding for military
*PDP , Atiku condemn president’s attempt to drag military into politics
Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Kingsley Nwezeh and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Director General of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has again insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari will not allow anything to go wrong with the credibility of the forthcoming 2019 general election.
This is coming as the president yesterday pledged to provide more funding for the military in order to enhance its capacity and deepen professionalism.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have condemned what it described as the attempts by President Buhari to politicise and compromise the military by dragging in service chiefs to attend and participate in his re-election campaign rally.
Amaechi said the president meant his words when he assured the international community of the federal government’s determination to conduct a transparent, free and fair general election next year.
Amaechi gave the undertaking while receiving in audience, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, at the President Buhari Campaign Organisation Office, Abuja.
He said apart from his undertaking to guarantee credible election, the president has warned his campaign officials not to be part of any manipulation during the 2019 polls.
Although the brief meeting with the UN envoy was held behind closed doors, THISDAY gathered from sources privy to the meeting that Ibn Chambas told his host that the world body is interested in seeing that next year’s general election in Nigeria is organised in a most credible and peaceful manner.
According to the source, the UN envoy also said the body is worried at the build-up to the crucial elections, especially with the utterances of politicians and the commencement of election campaign.
“The envoy came specifically because of the 2019 general election. They were worried about the state of affairs in the country and needed more assurances from the government that the general election will be credible, free and fair,” the source said.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has pledged to provide more funding for the military in order to enhance its capacity and deepen professionalism.
This is coming as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique, said the air power applied against the insurgents in the North-east between 2015 and 2018 had greatly reduced the capabilities of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day International Air Power seminar hosted by the Nigerian Air Force in Abuja, President Buhari said his administration would continue to support the drive to modernise the armed forces through enhanced budgetary allocation in their quest to meet the constitutional demands of protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said successful counterinsurgency operations would therefore require unity of efforts across multiple ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) covering political, economic, law enforcement, intelligence and the military.
“In this regard, we have mobilised relevant agencies and international organisations to support the counterinsurgency effort in order to ensure success. Our vision is to build a stable and prosperous Nigeria that would be the pride of future generations. It is however pertinent to note that this cannot be accomplished without peace, stability and security.
“Peace and stability can only be achieved if we are committed to emplacing reforms that will entrench true democracy in our polity,” he said.
In a related development, main opposition PDP has condemned the attempts by President Buhari to politicise and compromise the military by dragging in service chiefs to attend and participate in his re-election campaign rally.
The PDP said such participation in partisan politics is a dangerous dimension as it would not only erode the confidence which the citizens repose on the military ahead of the election, but is also a recipe for discord and partisan disagreements within the rank and file of the military.
This, according to the main opposition party could also result in mutual suspicion in the force and whittle its effectiveness in defending the nation.
The PDP in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, described the participation of the service chiefs in Buhari’s campaign rally tagged, “Next Level” as completely unacceptable and objectionable. The party noted that it 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.
The main opposition party alleged that Buhari’s desperation to rig and foist himself on the country in the 2019 election, would stop at nothing in his attempt to compromise and desecrate the country’s institutions, but said that doing so on the military is a clear invitation to crisis and derailment of the country’s democracy.