Gentlemen of the Press,
I participated in the monitoring of the 2019 General Elections in Rivers State, and also a member of the Committee of Foreign Observers that compiled the final report on the general elections in Rivers State.
Before now, Governor Nyesom Wike had brazenly accused the military of attempt to exterminate him. In yet another round of bizarre and spurious allegations against the Nigerian Military, Wike accused the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, of compromising security of the State by leaking proceeds of State Security Council Meetings to Criminals, and other illegal activities. He added that the people of Rivers practically stopped the Military from imposing a governor on the State during the election.
The Army has since debunked these allegations as reckless, baseless and mischievous. The Army rather said that the Governor attempted to compromise the Military with billions of naira to undermine the 2019 General Elections. The refusal of the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army to “play ball” and strictly adhered to military professiona ethics and code of conduct gave rise the campaign of calumny to dent the integrity of the Military and its leadership.
The Nigerian Military institution has been the fulcrum of our unity and the last line of defense. The Army under the command of Lt-Gen. TY Buratai has displayed courage and professionalism to protect Nigerians. It has endured the scorching sun on the rocky hills of the Northeast to degrade the forces of terror that threatens our nation. I wonder why Governor Nyesom Wike would descend so low to malign the Military in such a debased fashion in a fabricated tissues of lies that only exited in his imagination.
In my capacity as member of the Committee of Foreign Observers in the General Elections in Rivers State, I am aware of the enormous sacrifice and commitments by the Nigerian Army and the GOC 6 Div at ensuring a secured environment for free, fair and credible elections to hold in the State amidst rising cases of chaotic cult violence and political thuggery.
Governor Nyesom Wike’s reputation to manipulate and compromise procdures for selfish interest is very legendary. At the Committee of Foreign Observers post election duty in Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike approached the Committee through one of his Senior Special Advisers (SSA) with a whopping sum of N100 million (One hundred million naira only) to enable the committee indict security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Army in its final report on the General Elections in the Rivers State.
The Governor also offered all the Committee Chairman a Car should he agreed to alter the report to indict the Army on pre/post election violence in Rivers State. But the committee members’ professional candor was overwhelming as we unanimously rejected Governor Wike’s offer to indict the Army, who in our assessment were outstanding in the performance of their duties during the elections.
The reign of terror underpinned partisan political manipulations and treachery unleashed by Governor Nyesom Wike and his subalterns to undermine free elections in Rivers State was thwarted by the military candor in line with the code of conduct.
This posture by the Nigerian Army, and the GOC 6 Division, Maj Gen Jamil Sarhim is basically the reason for the campaign of calumny against it by Governor Nyesom Wike to rubbish the good integrity of the Nigerian Army under Lt-Gen. TY Buratai.
The decision to confess is imperative due to the continued harassment of security agencies by Governor Nyesom Wike which threatens security of the people of Rivers and Nigeria in general. And I am also prepared to release details of the contacts, including phone numbers and recorded chats messages with the Governor’s aide if Governor Wike continues in this trajectory.
Maligning the Army in this dispicable manner will dampen the moral and confidence of Officers and Men of the Army in trenches fighting to protect the territorial integrity, lives and properties of Nigerians. All Nigerians must continue to pray for the Army to discharge its roles professionally and in line with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Y Buratai.
Thank you all
Dr. Stephen Odipe
Member, Committee of Foreign Observers