Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has reacted to former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia (rtd.)’s comment that there were indications that the country was overdue for restructuring and in urgent need of a new way of governance.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Ogomudia’s comment shows he is yet to accept that democracy has come to stay in the country.
It also described as untrue that nothing had been done to bring the killers of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, to book, saying 14 suspects had been arrested so far based on their alleged involvement.
Ogomudia was quoted as saying he feared for the future of the country and the present security situation in the country, saying “a country where a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, was killed in the streets like an urchin, and nothing happened, is a sign that the nation is not moving in the right direction”.
The Presidency statement read: “We react to the statement credited to a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia (rtd) who submitted that, ‘Nigeria may be restructured violently.’
“This vituperation, coming from a former military chief speaks volumes about the mindset of groups of citizens who have yet to accept democracy as a form of government.
“It is very important to stress that we as a nation, are a constitutional democracy and changes to the country in structure, its systems, policy and politics must abide by the norms of democracy, otherwise they would be extrajudicial and therefore unconstitutional.
“This system has subsisted, uninterrupted, for upward of 20 years and still going, and the country’s law courts, with its armed forces are primed at all times to defend it using all means that are lawful.
“The biggest challenge to the country today is not necessarily from perceived regional or state imbalances or conflicts between the government at the centre and states but from the mindsets and entities rooted in the idea of violence as a means to change.
“Such individuals, groups and entities peddling ideologies of violence and hate are closed to the notion of healthy dialogue through popular platforms including elected parliaments, hence only open to violence and destruction as their means.
“This administration under President Muhammadu Buhari is strongly of the view that democracy that is self-correcting under the laws as we have is the answer to growing calls for violence and a means to change in the structure, form and content of the union that binds us as one country.
“Equally important is to deny the General’s assertion that nothing had been done on the unfortunate gruesome murder of Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, a former Chief of Defence Staff. Truth is, the investigation instituted by General Olonisakin, the current Chief of Defence Staff, has led to the arrest of 14 suspects based on their alleged involvement in a report that has been sent to the police and the Nigeria Air Force for further action.”