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Resist any coup attempt, Balarabe, Tinubu, NBA VP, Reps tell Nigerians

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John Ameh, Sesan Olufowobi, Leye Aluko and Goddy Isenyo

A National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; the Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani; and the House of Representatives, on Monday, told Nigerians to resist any attempt to remove the current democratic government in the country by force.

Also, a former governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, warned the military personnel against throwing the nation into turmoil in their bid to seize power.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, last week warned some Nigerians, who he did not name, to stop “approaching officers and soldiers for political reasons”, a development which people believe could be a plot to overthrow the current political dispensation in the country.

Speaking in Lagos on Monday, Tinubu warned the military to forget any attempt to lure it to stage a coup, adding that such attempt would be resisted.

Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, said this at a Special Parliamentary Session organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly to mark the Lagos at 50 celebrations.

The event was also to mark the second anniversary of the 8th Assembly.

He said, “I will like to sound a note of caution to us – the democracy that we are now trying to perfect is not guaranteed to us. We must sweat hard and think wisely if we are to keep it.

“Just a few days ago, we had a warning that some people were trying to entice the military out of the barracks. I say don’t try it. I want to add my voice to that warning. Those who think they can break the democracy so many of us laboured and for which too many people sacrificed their lives, they are mistaken.

“Nigeria has come too far for such a thing to happen. Those people behind such idea will find no fertile ground to plant their seed in Lagos. We will not buy their bad product; whatever they want to sell is a bad product and we are going to reject it.”

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the state had become a shining example and critical hub of socio-economic and political development.

“Today, we are celebrating the contributions of the Lagos State House of Assembly, particularly the 8th Assembly in the last two years, to the true principles of democratic governance through passage of bills that advance the principle of governance and promotion of social welfare of the people within the ambit of the law,” the governor stated.

We won’t accept return of military to power –Reps

Also, members of the House of Representatives asked the military to perish the thought of returning to power in Nigeria, saying coups had no place in the country’s governance.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, spoke their minds in Abuja on Monday at a public hearing on 12 bills to amend the Electoral Act, 2010, in a bid to strengthen democratic processes.

Lasun is also the Chairman, House Special Ad Hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution.

The Lasun committee has among others, recommended independent candidacy, financial autonomy for local governments and state Houses of Assembly to be included in the constitution ahead of the 2019 general elections.

A new constitution is expected to be in use in 2018.

Lasun said he was in shock to hear that anybody could be contemplating staging a coup in Nigeria after all the efforts made in the last 18 years to stabilise democracy in the country.

He added, “It will be difficult for the military to come back. We have had democracy for 18 years and we worked so hard to get to where we are today.

“I don’t know why some people are thinking this way (of coup) going by the comments and things we have heard in the last two weeks.”

However, the deputy speaker noted that the House was happy that the military sent its officers to the hearing on the 12 electoral bills.

Lasun added that the presence of the officers was an indication that the “military is supporting democracy and will protect it.”

The hearing was organised by the House Committee on Electoral and Political Party Matters with the support of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and the UKaid Nigeria.

Among the 12 bills are ‘A Bill to Amend the Electoral Act 2010 to Empower National Tribunals and Courts to Declare Candidates who Scored the Second Highest Votes Winner of Elections when the Tribunal or Court Finds/Holds that the Winner is Unqualified Abinitio’; and a ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act to Increase the Amounts Permitted as Maximum Election Expenses to be Incurred by Candidates Standing for Elections and for Related Matters’.

For example, the bill on election expenses seeks to increase the maximum election expenses to be incurred by a presidential candidate from N1bn to N5bn.

“It increases the maximum expenses that can be expended by a governorship candidate from N200m to N1bn,” a presentation by the Executive Director of PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, noted.

The Speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, told the session that the amendments were proposed to address problems witnessed during the 2015 polls and other elections held thereafter.

NBA vice-president, Balarabe warn soldiers against plot

Meanwhile, the Vice-President of the NBA, Monday Ubani, said any coup attempt would amount to “returning the country to Egypt,” calling on Nigerians to rise and speak against military infractions.

Ubani stated, “Every Nigerian with a sense of responsibility should speak at this auspicious time against any rumour of attempt to truncate this democracy. We know where we are coming from and we know what we have suffered as a nation from undemocratic governments. We know that some of the retardation we have today is as a result of military rule.

“We know where our country would have been, but for years of military misrule. Any attempt to return us to ‘Egypt’ will be resisted. We are not ignorant that we have some problems with our present democracy, but they can be sorted out.

“Hence, these are things we are correcting in our democracy and the military is never an option, with its attendant corruption. Therefore, we advise every Nigerian to speak against this. Powers are taken through electoral box, where mandate is freely given by the people, and not through the barrel of the gun.”

Also, a former Governor of Kaduna State and leader of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, called on Nigerians to be vigilant and ensure that the country was not thrown into political chaos.

He said, “All Nigerians should be careful not to throw the country into another political chaos. We already have enough.

“We want this political dispensation to last; whatever is the problem, the military should allow the political class to resolve it.”

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