The road to the 2019 general elections has taken another twist after service chiefs were spotted attending President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign rally tagged ‘Next Level’ Sunday.
Pictures of the nation’s security heads at the event have become a source of worry for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation.
The service chiefs seen at the event are the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadiq; and Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, Punch writes.
Reacting to the development, the Spokesman for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Mr. Segun Sowunmi, said the presence of the service chiefs at such a political gathering showed that Buhari as the commander-in-chief had compromised the heads of the military agencies.
He called on the international community to take note of the development as it could imply that the military had already started working for Buhari’s re-election.
“The problem with the security agencies is that they have not fully defined who they should be loyal to. The concern is that the commander-in-chief has some sort of relationship with them but when they elevate that relationship to a point where they begin to attend political events at the launch of the campaign of a political party, everybody must be scared,” Sowunmi said.
“This is because it portends a very dangerous development which is that they have now got themselves involved in politics to the point that they are now the cheerleaders of another political party.
“I hope when we want to unveil our own political document in a public forum and if we invite them, they would be reasonable enough to attend since they now attend political events.
“We want to advise them to be removed from politics so that the opposition can feel safe. I am quite disappointed in President Buhari for exposing the military to such a compromise and we call on the international community to take note.”
Meanwhile, Spokesman for the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), said during election time there is a thin line between politics and government, adding that there was no cause for alarm.
“It was not a campaign but the launch of a scorecard. You cannot prevent the crowd from chanting ‘APC’ because party members will do what they want. The event was a scorecard involving heads of all sectors including security to showcase their achievements.
“We were supposed to have a segment for security chiefs but the airtime was not enough. We showcased achievements in infrastructure, social investment, and agriculture.
“The truth of the matter is that in campaign periods, the line is very thin because the government is APC and APC is the government but the truth of the matter is that it is about government performance.”