By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Buratai Tukur’s veiled coup warning has provoked a plethora of postulations. This Magazine has been told that the uncertainty surrounding President Muhammadu Buhari’s health was at the heart of the COAS’ warning to his men to stay away from politicians and politics.
It has been learnt that a section of the political class is frenetic about who becomes the beneficiary of Buhari’s possible absence from the political turf in 2019 in the mould of not contesting for a second term.
The Sourece has learnt that while some politicians and individuals have no problem with Vice president Yemi Osinbajo who is now acting president, stepping into Buhari’s shoes as substantive President to complete his principal’s tenure in line with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution in the event that ill-health abbreviate Buhari’s current tenure in office, they are however,vehement against any arrangement that will see power at the centre still domiciled with him (Osinbajo) and in the geo-political zone where he hails from after 2019.
The simple interpretation of this, according to analysts, is that there are anti-Osinbajo and anti-Southwest forces in the polity who are primed at stopping the Acting President and by extension his geo-zone, the Southwest, from contesting the presidency in 2019 if Buhari won’t be doing so, and could lure a section of the military into an action that serves their purpose and intention.
General Buratai had alleged on Tuesday that some politicians were approaching soldiers, with the aim of usurping power. “Any officer or soldier of Nigerian Army found to be hobnobbing with such elements or engaged in unprofessional conducts such as politicking would have himself or herself to blame,” Buratai had warned.
Meanwhile,against the backdrop of the COA’s warning to soldiers,the United Kingdom has warned against military coup in Nigeria.The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright said yesterday: “no other system will work in Nigeria, except democracy, UK believes so much in democracy and that is why we introduced it to Nigeria during the colonial era, we believe so much in democracy. “ So, our position is very clear; we stand for democracy, we stand for the democratic process and we stand for change, if that is what the people of Nigeria wants. “It has to be a choice that the people make and not a choice that is imposed upon them.” “The British Government believes that democracy is absolutely critical in Nigeria. There is a democratic process here; there are elections. If you are not happy with your leaders, then you should change your leadership process through your leaders and through elections”.
Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has however blamed the Army Chief for soldiers dabbling into politics. His words: “Who are those approving battalions of soldiers to politicians? If they don’t want soldiers to follow politicians, they should stop giving soldiers to politicians. “It is only in Nigeria that soldiers follow politicians. They should stop soldiers from being security details to politicians. Somebody comes home and they will give him battalions of soldiers and they say soldiers should not hobnob with politicians. “All over the world, it is only the commander-in-chief that is allowed to use soldiers. But here, you see soldiers following politicians everywhere.”