Service Chiefs At Buhari’s Campaign Kickoff: Presidency Admits Error But Corrected It Just In Time
Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, has reacted to the criticism that has trailed the service chiefs who attended the campaign kickoff of President Buhari on Sunday November 18th at the presidential villa.
Service chiefs present at the event were Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff, Abubakar Sadiq, chief of air staff, and Ibok-Ete Ibas, chief of naval staff.
The spokesperson of the Atiku Campaign Organization, Segun Sowunmi, in an interview with Punch, said the presence of the service chiefs showed that Buhari as the commander-in-chief had compromised the heads of the military agencies.
“The problem with the security agencies is that they have not fully defined who they should be loyal to. The concern is that the commander-in-chief has some sort of relationship with them but when they elevate that relationship to a point where they begin to attend political events at the launch of the campaign of a political party, everybody must be scared. This is because it portends a very dangerous development which is that they have now got themselves involved in politics to the point that they are now the cheerleaders of another political party.
“I hope when we want to unveil our own political document in a public forum and if we invite them, they would be reasonable enough to attend since they now attend political events. We want to advise them to be removed from politics so that the opposition can feel safe. I am quite disappointed in President Buhari for exposing the military to such a compromise and we call on the international community to take note” he said
Reacting to Sowunmi’s comment, Garba Shehu in a statement released yesterday, said the service chiefs had thought the event was non-political and left even before President Buhari got to the venue for the declaration. The statement read:
“They were mistaken in their assumption that this was a non-political event, to showcase the achievements of the administration, the success of which they are part. Hardly were they seated than did the Minister of Defence, retired Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali asked them to leave as this was a political gathering. They quickly left, even before the arrival of the President and for the event to get underway. The fuss over this is therefore absolutely unnecessary.”