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Tuesday 10 November 2015

Military probes Ekiti, Osun polls

Military probes Ekiti, Osun polls

•Generals’ panel gets two weeks

The military’s probe of some of its officers’ and men’s partisan involvement in the 2014 governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states has commenced.

A five-man panel of officers led by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, as President, announced the take off of the probe yesterday in Kaduna.

Also to be probed is the involvement of some officers in electoral malpractices during the general elections.

Army Spokesman Col. Sani Usman last month in a statement said the military would examine the involvement of its officers to forestall a recurrence.

The then ruling party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – is believed to have used the army to aid its victory in the June 21, 2014 Ekiti governorship poll.

Soldiers were allegedly used to intimidate the All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwarts in Ekiti and in Osun State, whose governorship election held on August 9.

Army Captain Sagir Koli later revealed detail of how the military was used to rig the Ekiti election.

The panel will sit at the headquarters of 1 Division Nigerian Army in Kaduna. Col. Danladi Salihu is the panel secretary.

Other members of the panel are:  Brig. Gen.  Emmanuel Kabuk, Brig. Gen. Sunday Araoye, and Brig. Gen. Baba Ibrahim

Maj-Gen Oyebade said the panel will submit its report within the next two weeks to Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

The panel’s President urged individuals with useful information to visit the panel and testify. He said the investigation is open to the public even though it is a purely military affair.

Gen. Oyebade said: “As most of you are aware, the last general elections conducted in March 2015 elicited criticism in some quarters, especially from the general public, particularly in the conduct of some Nigerian Army personnel during the governorship and presidential elections.

“These allegations were centred on the governorship elections conducted in some states such as Ekiti, Osun, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom, to mention but a few.

“It is therefore based on all these weighty allegations that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai on assumption of Command, articulated his vision of having a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles, instituted this Board of Inquiry.

“The panel is to investigate these allegations and recommend appropriate measures to prevent a reoccurrence in the future.

“The military as a noble profession of arms must remain apolitical in our democratic dispensation. Politics, we strongly believe should be left entirely to the politicians.

“I must hasten to add however, that in spite of these worrisome allegations, the military as to a large extent performed creditably as the foremost guardian of the nation’s democracy.

“On this note, I will like to call on all the strata in the society and of course, the general public to please as a matter of urgency, appear in person if they so wish and forward their petitions in form of memorandum either personally to Headquarters 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kawo, Kaduna or via courier addressed to the secretary, panel of investigation on elections, HQ 1Division, Kawo, Kaduna”.

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