The Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu has declared that at no time did he call for the military to take over government.
The Defence Headquarters had in a reaction to Ekweremadu’s comments at the plenary session where he cautioned his colleagues against inviting the military through receding democratic practise, maintained that its men are not interested in politics.
Ekweremadu speaking at the weekend during a dinner organised by the Bayelsa State government for the executive members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State categorically distanced himself from any comments suggesting that the military would take over power.
He insisted that he would never make derogatory statements against the Nigerian military which he said remains one of the best fighting forces in the continent, stressing that statements made by lawmakers in the course of their duty should be situated within the proper context before any form of reaction.
Ekweremadu noted that parliamentarians, have a duty to continue to defend democracy in the country, arguing that the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is the parliament which should ordinarily provide direction for the sustenance of democracy.
He added that his remarks on the floor of the Senate chambers were to caution his colleague politicians to avoid the mistakes of the past which inevitably led to the abrupt end of the first republic.
“Before I close, let me just tell you one unfortunate incident that happened last week. We had one of our colleagues from Kogi who was hosting a constituency briefing and empowerment. He alleged that the government sponsored thugs to come and chase away people and destroy the programme and equipment he bought for his people.We condemned such acts, especially where in a particular case, the property of a parliamentarian was destroyed. We condemned a case whereby parliamentarians were stopped from holding meetings and where a parliamentarian was stopped from coming to a state where he was governor for eight years.
“We warned that it was this kind of reckless abuse of power and impunity that scuttled our democracy earlier, especially in the first republic and I cautioned that politicians should not take things for granted. Of course, some people took it out of context and said I was calling for a military coup. I never called for a military coup. I never said the military was planning any coup. If you read some parts of the military statement, they admitted that my statement and contribution were only cautionary and that we were sincere, but they went as far as saying that the international community should ignore me”, Ekweremadu said.
He stated that the Nigerian Military is currently passing through one of its toughest phases by fighting to keep the peace, which calls for support rather than denigration.
“I am not asking for an apology, I am only asking for understanding. I hold the Nigerian army and the armed forces in high regard. They are some of the best in Africa. They have defended our democracy, our people and have acquitted themselves in every assignment.