Nigeria’s opposition Action Congress (AC) has criticised the country’s military hierarchy for threatening to deal with ‘trouble makers’ in the aftermath of the Court of Appeal ruling that validated the election of President Umaru Yar’Adua on Tuesday.
In a statement made available to panapress Thursday, the party described the threat as ”a veiled act of intimidation and an unprofessional act”, saying the threat had already failed as nothing would stop its (AC) presidential candidate in the last election from pursuing its legal recourse to the end.
AC said such a statement from the military was unprecedented in the history of election petition adjudication in Nigeria, noting that the needless dragging of the military into the political arena was designed by the authors of the threat to ”curry cheap favour from the political leadership”.
“The statement credited to the Chief of Defence Staff is most unfortunate and sets a dangerous precedent. Never in the history of election petition in Nigeria has the military engaged in such a needless adventure as this,” the party added.
It said demonstrations were part of democracy, hence anyone who wishes to protest against the ruling could do so within the ambit of the law.
The party challenged the military to name the ‘faceless trouble makers’ instead of painting everyone who disagrees with the Court of Appeal ruling with the ”same brush of inciting violence”.
It also reminded those behind the threat that the AC, without prompting, had chosen the non-violent path by taking its case against last year’s elections to the courts.
“If we had wanted violence, we would not have taken the legal recourse, while consistently appealing to our supporters to remain calm.”
In a statement issued by the Defence Headquarters in the capital city of Abuja Wednesday, the Nigerian military warned against any protest in the aftermath of the ruling, saying: ”We will do our best to ensure the maintenance of public peace as enshrined in our constitution.” Panapress