The seeming political war between Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the Nigerian Army has continued to generate apprehension across the country over the perceived partisanship of the Nigerian Army in performing their national duties.
Governor Wike had at different times made series of allegations against the the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division.The Army also have been putting up defences.
The Nigeria Army on Tuesday engaged Governor Wike in another ‘combatant’ battle, over allegations by the governor against the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division and Land Component Commander Operation DELTA SAFE, Major General Jamil Sarham. The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, remarked that the allegations were contained in a video clip released to some sections of the press and social media outlets.
Colonel Iliyasu hinted that the clip was purportedly released on the 15th of May 2019 by one Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
He noted that in response to many accusations against the Division; already some responsible good individuals and groups in Nigeria have exposed the antics of Governor Wike against the leadership of the Division and the Nigeria Army.
The Army protested: “It is imperative to state the campaign of calumny against General Sarham and the Nigerian Army leadership by Governor Wike did not start today.
“Recall that on 22nd February 2019, Governor Wike brazenly alleged that there was an attempt to exterminate his life by assassins organised by the GOC 6 Division. As weighty as the allegation was, we are yet to know any action taken by Mr Wike that guarantees his safety. Mr Wike has since failed to use civilised legitimate options to prove his allegations against Maj. Gen. Sarham.”
Colonel Iliyasu complained that on the accusation against General Sarham leaking proceeds of State Security Council Meetings to criminals in Rivers State, Wike knows that Maj. Gen. Sarham is not a member of the Rivers State Security Council, neither has he ever approached the gates of Rivers State Government House since his assumption of office as the GOC 6 Division.
He explained that Wike only came face to face with General Sarham on the 15th of January 2019 during the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Parade at Isaac Boro Park.
Some Nigerians have expressed been expressing diverse opinion over the dispute between the Rivers State Governor and the Nigerian Army. Taking to the social media, this Nigerian declared in part: “This shouldn’t be even happening right now; The Military and the rest of the Security Agencies are beyond throwing words to Politicians and politicians throwing back…”
Another stakeholders in the polity also stated: “If I were the GOC, I would have raised alarm immediately. Wike gave him the money. The army has brought itself to ridicule because of meddlesomeness with politicians.”
Another stakeholder declared: “Your involvement in politics is gradually making you lose your place. Stop placing your loyalty in politicians. Your loyalty should be to the nation. Government will come and go but the Army will remain. Yesterday was GEJ, today, it’s Buhari and tomorrow will be for someone else. Dasuki and other political prisoners haven’t taught you any lesson.”
A citizen simply said: “Nigerian Army, you’re losing it!”
Another citizen also said: “I believe Wike 100%. The Nigerian Army is obviously lying.”
Other commentaries of several other Nigerians on the controversy on the social media read: “As if you don’t know who is in charge of the Army. Once they head any institution consider that institution dead.”
“Incoherent. How can you say that the GOC had not crossed the gate of the Government House? So he is yet to pay a courtesy call on a sitting governor, yet, he will be expected to implement the resolutions of the Security Council.”
“The GOC must not be present in a meeting to be briefed on the outcome. Army is part of the Security Council unless you are telling the world that Nigerian Army has not been attending Security Council meetings.
“If the GOC is in charge of the security in the Niger Delta, then, he is obviously complicit in the bunkering activities. No bunkering can happen without the tacit support of the security agents both the police, navy, army and even the NSCDC.
“There ought to be introspection by the army instead of always jumping in to defend any allegation against its personnel.”
This citizen wrote: “Good question, and comments. Federal Govt is uselessing our hitherto noble Army. What a pity! If they don’t have some evil motives, why is the embattled GOC still there when his public and professional images are questionable. I feel bad. The Nigerian Army had a powerful global image when it stayed off partisan politics. What a sorry pity; the glory has departed, Ichabod. God, save Nigeria, and her Armed Forces. Set our Armed Forces free from evil rustication…”
On a contrary view, this Nigerian wrote: “Frivolous allegations by Wike all the time against the army, police and other security personnel; an attitude that is very very unbecoming of his status as a state governor.”
This citizen made a mid-point view: “Both the Governor and the Army are true indigenes of this country, we should please settle them; not to bring our secret outside, Nigeria has spoiled since not now…”