Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Presidency last night reacted to a statement by a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia (rtd), who suggested that Nigeria may be restructured violently.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Nigeria was a constitutional democracy and changes to the country in structure, its systems, policy and politics must abide by the norms of democracy, otherwise they would be extrajudicial and unconstitutional.
The presidential aide said the vituperation, coming from Ogomudia, a former military Chief spoke volumes about the mindset of groups of citizens who are still adamant to accept democracy as a form of government.
He noted that democratic ethos has subsisted, uninterrupted, for upward of 20 years, adding the country’s judicial system, with its armed forces, are committed at all times, to defend it using all means that are lawful.
“The biggest challenge to the country today is not necessarily from perceived regional or state imbalances or conflicts between the government at the centre and states but from the mindsets and entities rooted in the idea of violence as a means to change.
“Such individuals, groups and entities peddling ideologies of violence and hate are closed to the notion of healthy dialogue through popular platforms including elected parliaments, hence only open to violence and destruction as their means,” Garba said.
He reiterated that the Buhari Administration is strongly of the view that democracy that is self-correcting under the laws is the panacea to growing calls for violence and a means to change in the structure, form and content of the union that binds the people as one country.
The Presidential aide similarly rebutted Ogomudia’s assertion that nothing had been done to unravel the circumstances of the gruesome murder of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
“Truth is, the investigation instituted by General Olonisakin, the current Chief of Defence Staff, has led to the arrest of 14 suspects based on their alleged involvement in a report that has been sent to the police and the Nigeria Air Force for further action,” Shehu said.
While delivering a leynote address at the Good Governance Lecture organised by the Catholic Church of Warri’s Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), Ogomudia had warned that the continued suppression of the agitations for the restructuring of the country could lead to its violent break up.
He said he feared for the future of the country and the present security situation in the country, saying “a country where a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, was killed in the streets like an urchin, and nothing happened, is a sign that the nation is not moving in the right direction”.