There are now fears in Nigeria that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari might be overthrown to pave way for a northerner to replace the ailing leader instead of allowing his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, who is from the South, to replace him.
Mr. Buhari has been in London since May 7 battling for his life, the second time he has travelled there this year, as his health continued to worsen. Mr. Osinbajo is acting as President but several people have alleged that he is not allowed to perform his duties.
It was alleged and then later debunked that he was not given the permission by the ‘political cabal’ from the north to sign the 2017 budget.
And on Tuesday, the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who is also from the north, issued a bizarre statement, warning that some soldiers were being approached by some politicians for political reasons.
He did not specify who the soldiers or politicians were or the type of political reasons he was referring to. But in Nigeria, it was interpreted as the preparation of a coup.
Reactions were swift. The former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a statement titled “THE RINGING OF COUP BELLS AND A CAUSE FOR DEEP CONCERN” said a coup might take place.
“I am very worried now. Ever since 1966 the northern ruling class has ALWAYS effected a coup d’etat whenever they feel sufficiently threatened with the loss of power,” he said.
“The only time that they failed to do this, to their eternal regret, was when President Goodluck Jonathan succeeded President Umaru Yar”Adua after the latter’s death in 2010,” he added.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, in a statement to TSAN on Thursday also challenged the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to immediately identify and fish out military officers and other individuals who are alleged to be hobnobbing with politicians ostensibly to overthrow the present democratically elected government.
The Army chief alleged in a statement on Tuesday that some people were approaching soldiers for political reasons. He warned to soldiers who might heed to such overtures would face serious consequences.
In reaction, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said “this an issue that has to be nipped in the bud with immediate alacrity because of grievous consequence a coup portends for a democratic Nigeria. The suspected military officers must be immediately identified, investigated and punished according to extant laws if found culpable to protect the subsisting democratic and the rule of law.”
“Nigeria cannot afford to repeat history by tolerating military rule again, even for a second! Military rule belongs the past, it’s dead, and buried, democracy didn’t just come on a platter of gold, it was fought for by some courageous Nigerians in a struggle where plenty were killed, maimed, incarcerated unjustly, ‘letter-bombed, tortured psychologically and physically. Nigerians must be alert and vigilant so that the desperate power-hungry political class does not take country back to the dark days of autocratic rule where dehumanization will be the mode of governing.”
“The military should remember that it derives its authority from civil rule, and soldiers fraternizing with politicians should remember that military rule is no longer fashionable. We do not want a military that is not subject to democracy. The politicians involved too much be identified and charged with treasonable felony if enough evidences validate that” He added
“Nigeria, despite the economic recession, cannot tolerate any military intervention in power. The intelligence arm of the Army should intensify their intelligence gathering efforts and be vigilant about early warning signs for subversive activities. For now, soldiers fraternizing with rebellious politicians should be fished out for immediate court-martial to serve as a serious warning to those harbouring the thoughts of truncating Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.”