For those scheming to topple the government of the day, a timely warning has come from two former Nigerian leaders who were witnesses to the bloodletting that attended past coup d’états in Nigeria.
Former leaders, Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo, have warned against any plan by the military to effect an undemocratic change of government.
The warning is coming on the heels of an alarm raised by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who frowned at the deployment of soldiers to the 36 states by military authorities, saying Nigeria was under s state of emergency.
Defence Headquarters had claimed that the deployment was “a solidarity march for democracy and the constitution”.
A pro-democracy group, Society for Good Governance (SGG) had also sounded a similar alarm noting that the deployment “smelled like a coup plot”.
“Nigeria has had enough bloodshed and enough sacrifices by those victims of the coups and violence. Nigeria deserves peace, unity and progress,” Obasanjo said in Abuja at the presentation of a book, “The First Regular Combatant: Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari.
“I hope we have seen the last of any military involvement in governance today,” Gowon said. He noted that military’s incursion into politics “poisoned the lifeblood of the army and left a dysfunctional system that has left the country, military and the people all the poorer”.
“For some of us, the greatest tragedy of the gruesome night was not only that it took the lives of many innocent Nigerians, including that of Brigadier Maimalari, but that it also took the life of the Nigerian Army and violated its political innocence,” Gowon said.
Speaking directly to the son of late Maimalari, who was a former military administrator of Jigawa State, Lt. Col. Abubakar Sadique, Obasanjo explained to him why in his determination to curb military incursions in the politics of Nigeria, he had to retire “political soldiers”.
“I have no apology, but I have an explanation. It’s because it was necessary to stop this sort of thing (coup d’états) that took the life of your father prematurely that we had to take the decision that all those who had tasted political power that they should never have tasted, should be eased out of the army so that we can have an army that is free from political aberration,” he said.
“I have no apology, but I have an explanation. It’s because it was necessary to stop this sort of thing that took the life of your father prematurely that we had to take the decision that all those who had tasted political power that they should never have tasted, should be eased out of the army so that we can have an army that is free from political aberration.
“So far, since 1999, it seems that we have got it right. Let us hope that we continue to get it right and learn that Nigeria has had enough bloodshed, enough sacrifices by those victims; that Nigeria deserve peace, unity and progress,” he said.