Governors of the South East states have thrown their weight of support behind the Operation Python Dance III nationwide launched recently by the Nigerian Army.
According to the governors, the zone will not have any problem with the place the Army may deem fit to establish their operational headquarters as it commences the nationwide operation so long as they maintain their professional standard of protecting the people of the zone.
Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State governor, Chef David Umahi, who made the governors’ position known said professionalism and good conduct are all the Army need to win the confidence of the people of the zone in the face of heightened tension ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Umahi stated this while receiving the General officer Commanding 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Abubakar Maikobi who paid him a courtesy call at Government House, Abakaliki.
The governor acknowledged the fact that the South East had been greatly troubled by the presence of the Army, especially because of the recent clash between the Army and members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He called on the Army to remain neutral and maintain high level of professionalism in the discharge of their duties while the operation lasts.
Governor Umahi urged the military to come up with workable policies that would earn them the confidence of the people of the zone in the discharge of their duties, adding that the Army and other security agencies must remain neutral in the forthcoming general elections in the state and by extension, the South East.
He said Ebonyi State and indeed the entire South East will resist with every sense of vigour any attempt to rig the general elections, using security agencies as tools.
He observed that the only way Nigeria will exist beyond 2019 is for credible elections to be conducted in a manner that all security agencies are seen to be neutral.
On his part, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Major General Maikobi, said he was in Ebonyi State to familiarise himself with the government and people of the South East zone and to also inform the governor about the plan by the Nigerian Army to commence Operation Egwu Eke III nationwide.
“I am also here to inform you that I have been mandated by the Chief of Army Staff to formally inform you as the Chief Security Officer of the State that exercise Egwu Eke III was flagged off in Maiduguiri, Borno State. The exercise is scheduled to take place from January 1 to 28 February, 2019. We have selected Ebonyi under your purposeful leadership as the location for the step-up headquarters for the exercise”, he told the governor.
He assured that the Army will remain neutral, saying “I assure you and the good people of Ebonyi State that the Nigerian Army will remain neutral, professional and totally apolitical. Nigerian Army will not compromise its constitutional roles under any guise”.