The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, has warned the military against truncating the current democratic process, saying such a move would have disastrous consequences as a lot had changed in the country and in the constituent units between 1960 and now.
Maku said the interruption of the democratic process by the military was the reason the country was not at par in terms of development with Asian countries like India, Malaysia and other fast developing nations.
Maku made this known while handing over the administration of the Ministry of Defence to his successor, Gen. Aliyu Gusau and the Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, in Abuja on Friday.
Maku had been the supervising minister of defence since September 2013.
He warned that Nigeria had no other destiny outside of democratic governance and urged the Armed Forces to always give the expected loyalty to the constitution of the country, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces – President Goodluck Jonathan – and the democratic system.
The minister noted that even as the nation moved closer to the 2015 general elections, several utterances that had to do with the existence of the country, were being made even though the president had repeatedly assured Nigerians that the next election would be better than the previous one.
He said, “We are heading towards an electoral phase in Nigeria this year, and there have been a lot of utterances from within and outside the country relating to the unity and future of Nigeria. But I’m aware that Mr. President has variously assured the world that this election would be freer than what we saw in 2011.
“And for all of us who are politicians, we know our responsibility to the country; one great thing the Armed forces must continue to do is to remain very loyal to the constitution and to our democracy.
“The past experiences have not helped the country, we all know that may be, without those military interruptions, Nigeria would today be at the same par with India, Malaysia and others. So interruptions have not helped the country. And we pray that after 14 years of democratic rule, the Army, the Armed Forces would continue to remain loyal to the constitution, the commander in chief, and to our democratic system.
“Nigeria has no future outside democracy; any interruption of the orderly democratic evolution of this country would lead to a national disaster. The country is quite different from what it was in the 1960s; things have changed, attitudes have changed, constituencies have changed their attitudes and so the best option for Nigeria is continuing democratization”.
Shortly after he took over the reins at the Defence Ministry, Gen. Gusau affirmed that the security challenges were daunting, but not insurmountable.
Gusau, who was a former National Security Adviser, promised to look into the military and civilian components of the Defence structure, with the view to tackling the various structural challenges that could hamper the smooth operations in the ministry.
He also charged the military and civilian personnel to brace up for the challenges ahead, saying “we will surely get to our destination”.