- Pays tribute to the former army chief at 60
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Unlike the case of the 2019 general election, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike Saturday said former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Kenneth Minimah refused to use Nigerian Army to frustrate people’s will during the 2015 elections.
Wike, also, said that the people of Rivers State “are proud of the former army chief,” citing his contributions to the nation-building and his spirited defence of constitutional democracy during the 2015 general elections.
He made the remarks at Minimah’s 60th birthday celebration in Port-Harcourt, lauding him for using his position to defend democracy in 2015.
Wike, who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Mr. Chukwuemeka Woke, said Minimah stood on the side of integrity and refused to use the Nigerian Army negatively as was the case during the 2019 elections.
The governor commended Minimah for his outstanding commitment to the maintenance of security across the country during his leadership as Chief of Army Staff.
He said Minimah “has been a good ambassador of Rivers State. As Chief of Army Staff, Minimah respected the constitution and never used the Nigerian Army to manipulate the general elections across the country and in Rivers State.
He said: “This is a man of integrity. He is good ambassador of Rivers State. As Chief of Army Staff in 2015, he refused to use the Army to manipulate the general elections. In Rivers State, his brother from Opobo was the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, yet he did not use the army negatively.
“In 2019, the Nigerian Army was used negatively during the elections in Rivers State and the rest of the country. When Minimah was Chief of Army Staff, he respected the constitution of the country.”
Wike urged other leaders in the state “to use their positions to promote Rivers State, instead of de-marketing the state.”
In his address, former Minister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, described the Former Chief of Army Staff as a man of integrity, saying the Buhari Administration should be grateful to Minimah for refusing to negatively use the Nigerian Army to intervene in the 2015 electoral process.
“This man of integrity said it is against the law. There was pressure. There were northern leaders who wanted the man to take over. If the Chief of Army Staff was a northerner, General Buhari wouldn’t have been president. This is the man who has shown love for our nation,” he said.
Father of the day, Amanyanabo of Opobo, King Douglas Dandeson said the former chief of army staff is a reliable man who has contributed to the growth of the Nation.
In his remarks, Minimah, thanked God for his life at 60. He said that getting to 60 has been very adventurous and demanding. He thanked Nigerians from across the world for coming together to celebrate his 60th birthday.
“For you to serve to the peak and come back home, deserves thanksgiving. I will go to church to thank God for his mercies. I give all the gratitude to God,” Minimah said.
He said after over 36 years of Service to the nation through the Nigerian Army, he has witnessed all the shades of life.
The current Chief of Army Staff was represented at the event by the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarhem.