The Olowu of Owu-Kuta, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama, has commended the Nigerian Army for its role in the fight against insurgents and armed banditry across the country.
He also called for peaceful elections, appealing to political parties, candidates and their supporters to shun violence.
The foremost Yoruba monarch, at a world press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, further called for improved budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Defence for accelerated equipping of the Nigerian military.
Oba Makama, however, saluted the courage of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai for his professionalism despite the daunting task to contain the Boko Haram and other banditry.
He said: “I am happy that of all the reasons adduced for the postponement of the election by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakub, our Armed Forces were never accused of bias in the discharge of its duties.
“In fact, two days before the election was postponed, our Armed Forces announced to provide support for the police and other security agencies deployed for the election if the need arises. And despite the attack on the convoy of Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima and the attack on Buni Yadi, our Armed Forces was able to dislodge the insurgent and restore hope.
“I salute the courage of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Buratai for his professionalism despite the daunting task to contain the Boko Haram and other banditry I want to plead with our politicians across board not to play politics with our Armed Forces being the symbol of our unity.
“I also want to urge all the presidential candidates to keep to the peace accord they subscribe to recently, bearing in mind that we must have country first before any other thing. The rescheduled election slated for February 23 and March 09,2019 should be approached with open minded.
“The winner should be magnanimous in victory while the runners up should concede defeat. If the election is about the masses as they want us to believe, there should be no “Victor nor Vanquished.” It should be about our country Nigeria first.
“My appeal to all the gladiators is to eschew violence. Nothing should be done to jeopardize the peace and the template set by ex -President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2015.
“On the strength of this, I am appealing to our political class that as we go into the rescheduled elections to leave the armed forces out of their build-up to the elections. Without any fear of contradiction, the armed forces is not only the symbol of our national unity and cohesion, it is also the defenders of our territorial integrity as its personnel sacrifice their comfort for our peace.”
Civil society organizations and traditional rulers present at the ceremony were Eze Dr. Pat Eneh, Eze Dioranma, His Royal Highness Mohammed Bambado Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, Mr. Shina Loremikan of Huridag and Mr. Wale Adeoye of JODER.
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