CHIEF of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin yesterday defended the action taken by the military during the general elections.
The Gen. Olanisakin noted that if such actions were not taken and deployment of the military personnel made, the security situation of the country would have been jeopardised.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during the orientation programme for senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect, Gen Olonisakin noted that the deployment of the army during the election was constitutional.
He insisted that the deployment helped in preventing Nigeria from being thrown into war.
Speaking on “Issues on security and governance”, the CDS explained that the security situation in the country during the election process would have been better imagined if the military had not been deployed to perform what he described as their secondary responsibility.
He solicited for the support of the National Assembly for effective funding for the Armed Forces to effectively and efficiently carry out its constitutional duties.
Gen. Olonisakin also said the Armed Forces must be funded outside the ritual budgetary allocation, adding “if the military must do what it ought to do, it must be funded appropriately.
He said: “The armed forces of Nigeria derived its authority from p1 s3, 217 of the 1999 constitution which provides for the armed forces of Nigeria comprising of the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Navy and the Nigeria Airforce.
“During the just concluded 2019 general elections, the success of the electoral process was almost hampered by the security in some parts of the country. Many crises prone areas were properly maned by security services to ensure that the electorate were secured enough to carry out their civic duties of electing candidates of their choices.
“There have been various arguments by different positions of political parties and other stakeholders of the legality and otherwise of the military in support of the civic authority in the election process.
“A critical area of support that was provided, and perhaps, not very visible to the public, is the deployment of military logistics capabilities, especially naval and air access to support the movement of materials across the country.
“I need to reiterate that this deployment is in line with constitutional role of the armed forces of Nigeria as earlier stated. Even in the last general election 2019, the security situation in the country during the election process is better imagined if the military had not been deployed to perform their secondary responsibility thus the effect of security on governance is an important aspect that lawmakers, military personnel and the civil public need to understand in other to make the right decisions.
“A good understanding of these dynamics would enable political leaders and public officials to make realistic decisions and enact laws to achieve national security objectives.
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“Over the years, the armed forces of Nigeria has built various capacities to enable it perform our various goals. This capacity development is dependent on a number of factors including training and the availability of adequate platforms which has direct impact in improving the capability of the armed forces of Nigeria in the field and subsequent effect on national security.”
On the need to fund the Armed Forces, Gen. Olonisakin said: “However, the major challenge of the capacity of the armed forces of Nigeria is the limited budgetary allocations to meet the need of the armed forces of Nigeria.
“I have often maintained that well-trained and well equipped and adequately motivated armed forces of Nigeria cannot be funded through budgetary allocation alone.
“Accordingly, the Defence Headquarters had proposed that we need to consider alternative funding options for the armed forces of Nigeria in addition to the budgetary allocation.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will continue to count on the support of the National Assembly to enact appropriate legislations that will support capability development of the military, security sector reform, appropriate funding and other initiative through appropriate legislation to enable the armed forces support national security and good governance.
“As it is often said, the fundamental reason for the existence of government in the provision of robust security proactive enough to enable a conducive environment for the pursuit of sustainable development for the society.
“Deriving from this is the fact that the truth for the existence of any nation is rooted in the security sector. National security is unquestionable tied to good governance, and good leadership is the aspiration of every citizen in most countries in the world.
“These two fundamentals can hardly be achieved in the midst of both internal and external threats in the nation, most government across the globe always strive to ensure that the state is secure and free from crises that could compromise good governance.
“There is crucial link between good governance, national security and economic development. If security is not maintained, governance cannot be delivered and therefore it would be a great threat to the unity and integrity of the country.
“Hence, there would be no meaningful, sustainable development and similarly, security cannot be safeguarded if governance is delivered by an inefficient and disorganised administration.”