Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that Nigerians will not honour members of the Nigerian Armed Forces who engage in rigging and snatching of ballot boxes during elections.
Wike, who made this remark on Sunday during an Inter-denominational Church Service to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration at the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Rumuepirikom on Sunday, urged the uniformed men to be professional.
“We are not honouring those who are unprofessional and (who) carry ballot boxes to influence the electoral process. I urge members of the Armed Forces to choose the right path in the interest of the country.
“It is unfortunate that the military has lost its integrity because of some unprofessional personnel. Nobody is afraid of the military because of their unprofessional conduct. Those who come to rig election or kill Rivers people, Heaven will never remember them,” the governor said.
Wike explained that he had been vindicated by the admission by INEC Chairman, Mamood Yakubu, that security agencies were responsible for the electoral malpractices that marred the last elections.
He said, “I thank God that the chairman of INEC has owned up that the problem with elections are the security agencies. This confirms all I have said in the past.”
The governor, however, praised the Armed Forces for the role they have played in preserving the unity of the country.
“But for them, kidnappers, cultists, insurgents and armed robbers would have taken over the country,” he said, just as he called for the institution of a reward system to encourage soldiers to put in their best for the country.
In a sermon, Venerable Samuel Chimele, called on soldiers to be professional in the discharge of their duties to the nation.
Chimele said, “As we remember our fallen heroes, be professional. There are temptations for the military to be unprofessional, but strive to be professional.”
He said that soldiers engaging in unprofessional acts would go unrecognised in the long run, even when they enjoyed earthly promotion.
Prayers were said for the fallen heroes, their families, the Government and people of Rivers State as well as the Federal Government and the Armed Forces.
The Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said on Sunday that he never asked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to pick or choose his successor.
In a short address in his church, the cleric said the clarification became important following the controversy that trailed his nationwide address on January 5.
He said contrary to insinuations or misunderstandings that he asked Buhari to pick his successor, he believed firmly that accurate succession in a democracy could only be achieved through free and fair elections.
He said, “My use of the word ‘succession’ has drawn curious reactions from various quarters. Apparently, and without my participation, it has been interpreted as my asking Buhari to foist his choice on the nation in flagrant disregard of democratic principles.
“I neither did this, nor did I insinuate at any point that Buhari should ‘pick’ or ‘choose’ his successor as some news outlets have conjured.
“Succession is an expansive term that does not focus on one position alone, mindful as I am that no individual can singlehandedly solve Nigeria’s problems. Instead, it focuses on the institution of systems of predictable progress, and the sustainable replacement of capable hands with capable hands across the entire system, whether through elections or appointments.
“Unfortunately, some have chosen to place leadership succession on the one hand, and free, fair and credible elections on the other, as mutually exclusive issues when, indeed, the latter is the strategic vehicle for arriving at the former.
“In a democratic society, you cannot achieve accurate succession without free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
To achieve accurate leadership succession, Bakare said Nigeria must build and strengthen public institutions or systems that will guarantee “predictable progress and the sustainable replacement of capable hands with capable hands across the entire system, whether through elections or appointments.”
Bakare added that the consequence of inaccurate leadership succession in Nigeria over the years was that the citizens have continued to suffer, decades after the selfless sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers, such as the late Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Michael Okpara and Ahmadu Bello.
Bakare said unlike the founding fathers, many of today’s politicians were at best “perverts pretending to be patriots or zeroes pretending to be heroes.”
He said, “Over the years, inaccurate succession has been the bane of institutional leadership in Nigeria. Decades after the selfless leadership of our founding fathers, the citizenry has remained disillusioned with the self-aggrandisement of politicians who lack the values of the founding fathers.
“In the South, these politicians are quick to wear the cap and glasses of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, but lack the mental capacity and foresight of the late sage. In the North, these politicians affiliate themselves with the legacy of Sir Ahmadu Bello, but lack the heart with which the Sardauna worked for the progress of his people.
“I m the East, they associate themselves with the giant strides of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Michael Okpara, but their governance accomplishments are dwarfed compared to those of these heroes. These are signs of leadership succession failure.”