Nigeria’s military pledged not to get involved in party politics after concerns grew about its role in pushing for the country’s presidential election to be delayed by six weeks.
The military faced accusations of interference when the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, revealed that the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) had written to him, saying that unless he delayed the February 14 election, it could not guarantee security.
A statement signed by defence spokesman, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, noted that following the palpable tension being generated with regards to the roles of the Nigerian military in the ongoing political activities and recent developments, especially in relation to electioneering, “it is important to reassure Nigerians that the military will remain professional, apolitical and non-partisan in all operations related to (elections).”
It urged a six-week delay to enable the military to contain the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of the country.
There have been reports that the military colluded with the ruling PDP to try to influence last year’s governorship election in Ekiti State, a claim the military has not directly commented on.
Further delays to or a cancellation of the presidential election now set for March 28 could trigger unrest especially in opposition strongholds.