…task electorates to be civil
By: Okosun Dennis
The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Obinna Ajunwa has called on the political class and the electorates to shun violence and carry out their civic responsibilities during this week’s general election without rancour.
He noted that the Army is apolitical and is working for the security of the country to ensure that no blood is shed, stressing that no person’s ambition is worth to consume the live of anybody.
In a media parley on Thursday eveningh7, 16th February, 2023 at the Hippo House, Ikoyi, the GOC called on every journalist give accurate reportage of electoral processes and timely information to the security agencies that would assist in deterring criminal elements who might want to thwart the genuine intention of the Commander-In-Chief, President Mohammedu Buhari, to leave a legacy of a “violence-free election.”
Explaining that a symbiotic relationship between the journalists and security agencies would engender a better society, added that everyone is working for the interest of peace and harmony in the society.
The parley which was a conglomeration of journalists covering Defence beat, Association of Online Security News Reporters of Nigeria (NAOSNP) and others select media organizations, the GOC reminded them that “We are all equal stakeholders”, hence “we own the country together.”
Gen Ajunwa further explained that, “Sometimes, we are tasked to carry out some responsibilities that the society think is very significant but that doesn’t reduce the importance of the other person.
On the forthcoming general election, especially within his areas of responsibilities – Lagos and Ogun States – Gen Ajunwa emphasized that his priority is to ensure that election is conducted under a peaceful atmosphere devoid of rancour and bloodshed” adding that “If we are able to achieve election that is free of violence, we would be very happy.
“I implore all of us to ignore our personal desires that will benefit only you. Whoever that wins is going to work for Nigeria not an individual.
“I have been asked questions on the coming election. However, I want to ask you as media men, how prepared are you as journalists because you have the ears to listening and have the pen to write. Sometimes, you know more than I know and hear more than I hear which defines the concept of “see something and say something.”
“You are also working for the security of the country. The election is for all of us not only for the Armed Forces. We are highly apolitical. Whoever you elect for us to work with, ours is to ensure that no blood is shed; no person’s ambition will consume the live of anybody. However, if somebody dies, that election is not worth it,” Gen Ajunwa explained.
On the part of the electorates, the General Officer Commanding, Gen Ajunwa assured them of adequate security while they exercise their franchise provided they are law abiding, avoid any act that could breed violence.
He reminded those that might want to thwart the process, to change their minds. “Those who are innocent, law abiding and follow the rule of law, and due process by casting their votes, we shall provide them adequate security and ensure no harm comes to them. But for those who want to thwart the system, we cannot say what those on ground will do to them.
Therefore, “We implore all of us to work together and give the nation what the name democracy is. Let’s be reminded that this is the last election the President is going to conduct and the last legacy he is going to leave behind.
“He has said it severally and let’s help him achieve that so that his legacy can continue to live having signed the new electoral bill and having told us in explicit terms what he desire for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Adding his words, Major General Kelvin Aligbe, applauded Gen Ajunwa for the initiative to parley with journalists covering the Defence beat, noting that the place of National security cannot be compromised in our national development hence regular unwinding, interactions to address grey areas with purveyors of news, should be encouraged.
He noted that battling with terrorists and other organised crime is a huge challenge for the country hence members of the Armed Forces must be supported and encouraged to achieve that goal. He stressed that other countries that overcame terrorism were achieved with the support of the press and the citizenry.
While commending the GOC and the media organizations present, he thanked Gen Ajunwa for his brilliant idea to parley with members of fourth Estate of the realm especially at a crucial period in the life of the nation.
Among the journalists that added their voices included: Mrs Evelyn Usman of Vanguard, Eugene Agha, Daily Trust, Eric Elezuo, PointBlank NG, Philip Nwosu, The Sun, Prince Albert Uba Crime World Magazine craved for inclusion in military activities and give prompt information about their activities rather than wait for journalists to nose around for such information.
They applauded the GOC for the parley adding that such regular meetings in an informal setting would cement the existing cordial relationship between the force and the journalists.