The Nigerian Army on Monday unveiled a five-man panel of inquiry to investigate and make appropriate recommendations on alleged involvement in partisan politics by some soldiers and officers during the 2015 general elections in the country.
A “high powered” Board of Inquiry was set up by the Nigerian Army on October 20 to probe alleged malpractices and involvement of its personnel in the 2014 Ekiti and Osun States guber polls.
The call for investigations came on the heels of the release in February of audio recordings and transcript of meetings of some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with some army officers on how to use the military to rig the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States in 2014.
Addressing journalists at its inaugural sitting in Kaduna on Monday, the president of the investigative panel, Maj.-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, General Officer Commanding (GOC), Headquarters, One Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, said the panel had two weeks, to submit its report to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
The panel has Danladi Salihu, a colonel, as the secretary.
Other members include Brigadier Generals Emmanuel Kabuk, Sunday Araoye, and Baba Ibrahim.
Gen. Oyebade called on individuals with useful information on military involvement in partisan matters to visit the panel and testify.
He also said the panel was open to the general public even though it is purely military affairs.
“As most of you are aware, the last general elections conducted in March 2015 elicited criticism in some quarters, especially from the general public, particularly on conduct of Nigerian Army personnel during both the gubernatorial and presidential elections respectively.
“These allegations were centred on the gubernatorial elections conducted in some States such as Ekiti, Osun, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom, to mention a few.
“It is therefore based on all these weighty allegations that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai on assumption of command articulated his vision of having a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles instituted this Board of Inquiry.
“The panel is to investigate these allegations and recommend appropriate measures to prevent a reoccurrence in the future.
“The military as a noble profession of arms must remain apolitical in our democratic dispensation. Politics, we strongly believe should be left entirely to the politicians.
“I must hasten to add however, that in spite of these worrisome allegations, the military as to a large extent performed creditably as the foremost guardian of the nation’s democracy.
“On this note, I would like to call on all the strata in the society and of course, the general public to please as a matter of urgency appear in person if they so wish and forward their petitions in form of memorandum either personally to Headquarters 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kawo, Kaduna or via courier addressed to the secretary, panel of investigation on elections, HQ 1Division, Kawo, Kaduna or through HQ 1 Division e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org”, he said.