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Calls for coup irresponsible, will drag Nigeria into the abyss, says Gen Usman

…says purveyors should be arrested, prosecuted

A former Director, Army Public Relations (DAPR), Brig-Gen. Sani Usman (rtd), has condemned in unequivocal terms calls for military intervention in the country. While describing such calls as irresponsible and capable of dragging the nation backward, Usman urged the Federal Government to investigate those individuals or groups that may be plotting to topple the government.

This was as he added that where culpability may be established those involved should be arrested and prosecuted. The former DAPR spoke against the backdrop of growing calls for the resignation or removal from office of President Muhammadu Buhari, amid escalating insecurity in parts of the country. Saturday Telegraph recalls that a few days ago, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Robert Clarke, was quoted to have called on the president to handover to the military ostensibly to arrest the deplorable situation.

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has since pledged its unalloyed loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Earlier, the Department of State Services (DSS) had condemned “the unsavoury statements by misguided elements, who have continued to threaten the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country”.

Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent, Usman, maintained that democracy remained the best form of government in contemporary society; and must be supported and nurtured. He warned those making a case for military incursion to allow the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to concentrate on its constitutional mandate of defending the nation’s territorial integrity against aggression of what-ever form. He said that: “I think it’s highly irresponsible (to call for military intervention). This man is a SAN (Senior Advocate of Nigeria), and he knows that Nigeria has been experiencing democratic governance.

“And we all agree in this country that there are procedures for taking over government. They are clearly enshrined in the constitution. “For goodness sake, every right thinking man will never advocate for military intervention in this country. No right thinking man should call for the intervention of the military because the worst form of democratic government is better than the best form of military government.

“We have to understand, we have to be patient; we have to build institutions that are reliable so that an average person will have trust and confidence in them. Nobody should drag us back. It is very clear. While recalling that President Buhari was duly elected by over 15 million voters during the 2019 general elections, he reiterated his warning that nobody should advocate for the takeover of the government except through constitutional means (the ballot).

He, therefore, called for the arrest of Clarke and any other individual calling for a disruption of the democratic order. “I expect him to be arrested. “Nobody should imagine that kind of bad dream for this country, not just him; any other person. “Government should go beyond the issue of press releases. If they are people that are trying to topple the government, they should investigate and deal with them according to the extant laws of the land”, he stressed. As at the time of filing this report, efforts were being made to get the reaction of the learned silk to the call for his arrest. Meanwhile, Revd Ladi Peter Thompson, a strategic thought consultant and security expert, has warned that the present efforts by the Federal Government to curtail the situation will not yield the expected result until it applies political will to identify and deal decisively with moles within the government. This is even as he faulted the position of Governor Nasir el- Rufai’s on the government not negotiating with bandits, saying that it is not enough to insist on not negotiating with the bandits and insurgents but on the fluidity of strategies being employed. Thompson said the government is operating from a position of weakness, adding that it will continue to flounder.

‘‘The Federal Government is looking very weak and will continue to flounder until it finds the courage to purge the enemies within,’’ he said. The government, he said must act fast: ‘‘Unfortunately the time frame to take decisive action is diminishing by the day. We don’t need to be rocket scientists to defeat this terror hydra but things will keep getting worse until the basics are put into place. ‘‘My heart bleeds for the younger generations because the confusion, cowardice, compromise and corruption that fertilised this terror hydra is embedded in our post independence history.

There was a time when a federal response would have worked but we missed that chance, next the regional defence line would have worked but we again missed the mark. ‘‘We are now transiting from the third to the fourth and final phase of the terror sequence and we are still on a slow learning curve.’’ To get out of the wood, he said it will take the combined efforts of statesmen and nonstate actors to work with the government in arresting the situation: ‘‘In this last phase, our only hope would be for respected non-state actors and statesmen to galvanise the national will to unite us across all borders, pressure the state actors to do the right thing while providing an unbiased support structure to supervise the solution.’’

Responding to cry for military invention in form of coup as openly canvassed recently by Robert Clarke (SAN), the cleric said, that will further compound the problem of the country, saying that: ‘‘For now, the declaration made by Clarke inviting a military intervention must be music to the intelligence that is directing both Shekau and the herdsmen. ISWAP probably threw a party to celebrate the outburst. ‘‘The terror template of this new war form is not something that the old tim-ers understand. Clarke’s prescription will only worsen the situation. It is obvious to all citizens that the government is not on top of the situation and the average citizen has become so traumatised that we are moving towards hysteria on a national scale.

‘‘His announcement will only heat up the body polity because the enemy plaguing Nigeria is extremely brilliant and has studied our fault lines. The terror template at work in our nation is recognizable and it has the ability to collapse nations from within. ‘‘The real Nigerian problem today is not the terror hydra but cowardice, corruption, compromise and complicity in high places. From the body language of the presidency it seems that our political leadership is itself – conflicted.’’

‘‘There appears to be a battle of sorts going on in the corridors of power and high places. This problem predates the presidencies of Obasanjo, Yardua, Jonathan and Buhari as Osama bin Ladin lived next door in Sudan from 1991-1996 cooking up this brilliant model of a global terror franchise.’’ He faulted the position el –Rufai, saying that the governor should apply fluidity in his handling of the situation and talk less as talking does not produce result. ‘‘The policy response to this new war form should have some fluidity to it and apart from delivering results the government cannot afford to be too talkative. ‘‘A perfunctory study of the interactions of the terrorists who kidnapped the Kaduna students points to some complicity. The terrorist are having a field day because analog minds do not have the processing speed and computational latitude to solve digital problems.’’

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