The South East Governors’ Forum yesterday noted that it would resist any attempt to use security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army to rig the 2019 general election under the guise of Operation Python Dance III
Consequently, the forum asked the Nigerian Army to be more professional in the discharge of their duties as they embark on the Python Dance III “to win the confidence of the people of the zone in the face of heightened tension ahead of the 2019 general election.
The Chairman of the forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Chef David Umahi made the comment at a meeting with the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Abubarka Maikobi at a meeting held at the Government House, Abakaliki.
At the meeting, Umahi noted that Ebonyi Sate and indeed the entire South East “will resist with every sense of vigour any attempt to rig the general election using the security agencies as tools.”
The governor, equally, said the only way Nigeria would exist beyond 2019 was to hold credible and transparent elections where all security agencies were seen to be neutral and unbiased.
Umahi explained that the South East had been greatly troubled by the presence of the army, especially because of the recent clash between the army and members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Umahi, therefore, called on the army “to remain neutral and maintain high level of professionalism in the discharge of their duties while the operation lasts.”
He, also, challenged the army “to come up with workable policies that will earn them the confidence of the people of the zone. The army and other security agencies must remain neutral in the coming general election in the state and by extension, the South East.
He said the zone “will not have any problem with the place the army may deem fit to establish their operational headquarters as long as they maintain their professional standard of protecting the people of the zone instead of being seen or accused of killing them.
Also speaking at the meeting, Maikobi said he was in Ebonyi state to familiarise himself with the government and people of the South East and informed him about the plan of the Nigerian Army to commence Operation Egwu Eke III.
“I am here to inform you that I have been mandated by the Chief of Army Staff to formally inform you as the Chief Security Officer of the State that exercise Egwu Eke III was flagged off in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“The exercise is scheduled to take place from January 1 to 28 February, 2019. We have selected Ebonyi under your purposeful leadership as the location for the step-up headquarters for the exercise”
He disclosed that the army “will remain neutral. I assure you and good people of Ebonyi State that the Nigeria Army will remain neutral, professional and totally apolitical. Nigerian army will not compromise its constitutional roles under any guise”.