Updated: February 28, 2021
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has enjoined the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to publicly apologise to him, saying that the military’s indictment by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its disruptive role in the Governorship and State Assembly elections in Rivers State has vindicated him.
In his reaction to a statement released by the INEC on Saturday in Abuja – where the electoral body expressed displeasure over the role played by armed military personnel during the Rivers state governorship election, Frank said he had been vindicated.
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The former APC’s deputy national spokesman said he had raised the alarm and called on the military authorities to be neutral before the election, adding that instead of the security agency to heed his call, “Buratai and his co-politicians in military uniform disregarded it and tagged him as a “Protagonist of Fake News.”
According to the INEC’s statement on the Rivers State gubernatorial election: “Collation centres were invaded by some soldiers and armed gangs resulting in the intimidation and unlawful arrest of election officials thereby disrupting the collation process.”
Timi Frank had issued a statement exposing plans by the APC’s government to militarize the Rivers State governorship election but was denied in some quarters.
While describing the military’s involvement in the 2019 general elections as shamful, Frank said if the likes of Buratai and his cohorts are tired of wearing military uniforms “they should form a political party or publicly register as a department under the APC.”
The political activist challenged the military to name just one country in Africa or the entire world where their colleagues have brazenly taken sides during elections “like what Nigeria witnessed in both the presidential, National Assembly and governorship elections?
“In 2015, there was no reported case of an active involvement of military personnel during the general elections. Although, that was the last time Nigeria had a civilian President who had respect for democracy and the rule of law.
“Therefore, the honest declaration by the INEC regarding the involvement of military under Buratai in the Rivers State governorship election is a shame and I deserve apology from the Nigerian Army for tagging me as a “Protagonist of Fake News.”
“Evil, they say, can only succeed when good people refuse to talk. As far as Nigeria is concerned, I and other likeminds shall not be intimidated or forced into a conspiracy of silence in the face of oppression – which the Nigerian military under Buratai is reputed for,” Frank stated.
He called on the International Criminal Court (ICC), human rights organizations and international community to take note of what he described as “a show of shame and wanton subversion of democracy by the Nigerian Army under Buratai.”