Lawyers, politicians, others: military’s assurance okay
Three Senior Advocates of Nigeria -Yusuf Ali, Sylva Ogwemoh and Chief Charles Uwesuyi-Edosomwan- yesterday said they welcome army’s reassurance that there would be no coup.
Ali warned that a coup was not even in the best interest of the Armed Forces, besides its negative consequences on democracy and development.
He urged those floating the idea of a coup to jettison it.
Ali said: “It’s not even in the interest of the Armed Forces to intervene in democratic governance. First, it’s not fashionable anywhere in the world for anybody to take over government other than in accordance with the Constitution.
“Secondly, our experience has shown that military rule has retarded our overall development.
“Thirdly, it also retarded the growth of the Armed Forces as a professional body.
“Fourthly, it led to the truncation of the careers of so many officers, either by death of by dismissal. And of course, it’s a traumatising experience for Nigerians. It doesn’t make for progress.”
Uwesuyi-Edosomwan said the matter should not end with the army saying there was no coup plot.
Those behind the alleged plot should be tried, he said.
“One is a bit disturbed about murmurings regarding a restive military. The military must be subjected to civil rule and any act of revolution or coup is treasonable,” he said.
According to him, whoever is involved or is thinking about a coup should banish the thought. Depending on where the coup is coming from, it will result in untold consequences in terms of system of governance, and there will be far-reaching consequences on our economy,” he said.
On the DHQ’s no-coup statement, he said: “I endorse it entirely. They should go further to fish out the people involved and publicly try them.”
Mr. Sylva Ogwemoh said the Army still had questions to answer despite denying a coup plot.
His said: “A reassurance may not be enough. But in my view it is simply not dealing with the main issue. The Chief of Army Staff had warned politicians to leave the military alone. I want to believe he made the statement following intelligence reports and information at his disposal.
“The questions then is, who are the politicians attempting to influence the military into staging a coup? Who did they approach within the rank and file of the military? Did those in the military who were approached by politicians immediately make a report as required by law and extant regulations?
National Chairman of the United Progressives Party (UPP) Chekwas Okorie, said the assurance from the military authorities is commendable, but not enough. He added that the officers suspected and their civilian collaborators must be fished out and punished.
He said: “It is a patriotic gesture on the part of the military. It is patriotic because it is the only position that can project Nigeria in a good light and it is the duty of the military to protect the integrity of Nigeria as a nation. It is safer and better for everybody to continue the democratic practice, than to engage in a military combat for control of territorial estate.
“So, I welcome that assurance, but I go further to say that those who by their action or inaction, including their body movement, brought about the rumour or the situation that made the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to go public, must be fished out and removed from the military. And this should be made public, because their action has damaged the image of Nigeria, particularly in the eyes of prospective investors and it has caused unnecessary trepidation within the country.”
Elder statesman Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said: “In my view, it seems as if the issue is being blown out of proportion. If it were a clear-cut case of some officers planning a coup, the proper thing to do is for the military to arrest the people involved, both the civilians and the military officers.
Afenifere chieftain, Senator Ayo Fasanmi said the denial of coup plan by the Defence Headquarters is a welcome development. Since they have denied it, we should just take it like that, he said.
Fasanmi said the military intervention was responsible for the problems we have in the country; no reasonable person will ever support the return of the military; the military rule had destroyed the democratic structure and imposed unitary system of governance that we are yet to get rid of.
The chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, described the assurances as a welcome development.
He however called for caution on the part of both the military authorities and the political class.
In a telephone chat with our correspondent last night, Makarfi said,
“In the first place, the matter was raised by them but now that they have assured the whole world that there will be no coup, it’s a good thing for the country.
“But it is also good to be diligent in whatever they do without adding to the political temperature. It is commendable but also, the situation calls for cautioning the part of everyone”
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