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ELECTIONS: PDP warns Army Chief, Buratai



ELECTIONS: PDP warn Army Chief, Buratai

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to refrain himself from acts or actions that will suggest in any way that the military has become an arm of a political party.

The opposition party was responding to Buratai’s statement on Wednesday where he asked presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to withdraw his statement asking the Army to disobey the president’s directive to be ruthless on ballot box snatchers.

Atiku had following President Muhammadu Buhari’s order that ballot box snatchers should be dealt with ruthlessly, asked the army not to obey the order because it was unconstitutional.

But Buratai, speaking at a meeting held with Principal Staff Officers, General Officers Commanding and Brigade Commanders ahead of the Saturday elections asked Atiku to withdraw his statement.

He also warned politicians and their supporters against testing the will of the army, insisting that those found to have violated the law, will be treated in line with Buhari’s directive.

In its response in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said “Gen. Buratai’s allusion to the people’s candidate, Atiku, as well as his threats to officers and ranks to execute the unlawful order by President Buhari to participate in the electoral process is an aberration of our laws and a recipe for crisis.”

The PDP stated that Atiku Abubakar spoke on the side of the law and wishes of Nigerians and cannot be intimidated by anybody no matter how highly placed.

“Gen. Buratai is counseled to note that the loyalty of the military is to the state and that the President lacks the powers, under our laws, to deploy soldiers for the conduct of elections.

“Our party urges Gen Buratai to concentrate on his very demanding assignment of protecting the territorial integrity of our nation and ending insurgency rather than dabbling into partisan politics at the risk of our national cohesion.

“It is imperative to state that by trying to drag the military to participate in the February 23 Presidential elections, President Buhari plots to suspend our constitution, assume the position of an emperor, trigger unrest, subvert our electoral process and derail our democracy,” PDP said.

The opposition party directs Buhari to the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos on March 23, 2015, wherein the court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba, directly outlawed the deployment of troops in the conduct of elections in our country.

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“President Buhari should also avail himself of the subsisting judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on February 15, 2015, held that the President has no powers to deploy soldiers in the conduct of elections,” it added.

The PDP further counseled President Buhari and Gen. Buratai to end their rationalizing of military option, as the courts have summarily dismissed their arguments that soldiers are needed to guarantee peaceful elections.

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