The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has condemned in strong terms the political campaign advertorial on several media outlets by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that seemed to question the integrity and sincerity of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Chief Alex Badeh, in the ongoing counter-terrorism operations against Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, in a statement on Wednesday, said the advert, which cited that Badeh could not meet the deadline he gave to defeat Boko Haram and later a ceasefire with the sect, was unfair to the office of the CDS and the military.
“The DHQ views with strong exception the political campaign advert by a political party which is currently airing on several television channels targeting the person and office of CDS for denigration,” Olukolade said.
In the said advert, he noted that vile references were made about the chief’s leadership of the ongoing counter-terrorism operations in some parts of the country.
According to him, the advert was simply typical of the very common use of the print, electronic and social media to propagate the campaign of attacking or ridiculing the Nigerian Armed Forces all with the intention of scoring political points.
He said: “The issues raised in the so-called political advert have already been clarified a couple of times by the DHQ and efforts are currently being channelled towards effective prosecution of the fight against terror with a view to reversing the situation in the areas where the terrorists are showing presence.
“It is therefore unfortunate that a lot of fabrications, exaggeration, misrepresentation of facts and outright falsehood are being disseminated to achieve this unjust objective of tarnishing the reputation of the leadership and individual officers of the nation’s military, all with the aim of getting at the government of the day.”
Speaking further, Olukolade expressed disappointment that some politicians were yet to understand the need to separate sensitive national security issues from their zealous political activities.
“It is, to say the least, very unbecoming of any political party to drag the name and office of a serving Chief of Defence Staff into their political campaigns,” he said.
The Defence spokesman warned that the tendency to deride the office of the CDS and other services is divisive and aimed at the morale and cohesion in the nation’s armed forces.
He further warned that “those who are so desperate to drag the military into political campaigns should realise that no political party or politician should hope to benefit from any effort to destroy the fabric of the nation’s military.
“The CDS, and by extension the entire personnel of Nigerian military do not belong to or work for any political party rather they work for the overall interest of the nation.
“The DHQ therefore urge politicians to always know when and where to draw the lines and keep the military out of their political machinations.”