The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has posted a new General Officer Commading, GOC, to the 2 Mechanised Division of Nigerian Army in a bid to reinvigorate the service.
The new GOC, Major-General Takuti Usman on Thursday paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde.
‘Seyi Makinde, while receiving the GOC in audience, at the Governor’s office in Ibadan called on the Nigerian Army to continue to remain professional before, during and after the coming elections.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor, who pledged the continuous support of his administration to the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the state, commended them for the maintenance of peace and order in Oyo State.
The governor lauded the Army for the important roles it has been playing in ensuring peaceful polls in the country, urging the Army to play its part and ensure that the elections are free and fair and that the votes of Oyo State people count.
Governor Makinde promised to maintain a cordial relationship with the new GOC, adding that the requests he made earlier in his speech would be looked into quickly.
He equally assured that his government would not relent in its efforts at providing adequate logistic support to the Division for its smooth operation in the area of security of lives and property.
The governor noted that the GOC was arriving his duty post at a challenging time when Nigerias are faced with the twin challenge of Naira and fuel scarcity.
He said: “Apart from those challenges, this is also a period where we are being asked to do more with less in terms of the resources and security architecture. The resources are dwindling and the responsibilities are expanding but I will say to some of the people occupying positions today that it is our lot and we have to face it head on.
“Oyo State has been calm security-wise and I will like to use this opportunity to say thank you to officers and men of Operation Burst and their DG because we used to have crime and criminalities around December and we were all apprehensive but they stood up to the challenge.
“When the Lagos-Ibadan expressway kidnapping became an issue, they also came up with other sister security agencies. They devoted the time and energy needed to quickly nip that in the bud, and the area now is well-dominated by the security agencies led by Operation Burst. So, I am happy that it is one of the major areas that you are paying attention to.
“Like you rightly mentioned, this is an election period, especially over the next four weeks and two days. Quite a lot will happen. I have been participating in elections since 2007 as a candidate.
“On an occasion, I was nearly killed. But we had been given some numbers to call in case of emergency. We called Colonel Olayanju’s number and he and his boys came to rescue me. So, that was the role the Army played in my personal life, which happened due to the impartial nature of the military. So, it is the same thing I will ask for again.
“Governors will come and go and it is not a do-or-die affair for us, because we want the vote of the people to count and be counted. “That is the role I will implore the military to play in this election. I do not have any doubt that you have the officers and men who are professional enough to make this happen.
“Quite a lot is going on in the political space and I want to also ask the military to ensure that our democracy is secure. To protect our democracy, it is something that the military will also have to take seriously. And Oyo State is quite big with landmass to cover.”
The governor equally promised to continue to support and prioritise whatever he needs to do for the Army and also make lives better for their families while they serve the state.
“For us, we will continue to provide support and prioritise whatever we need to do in terms of logistics. We will also make life better for families of our service personnel, who have their homes in Ibadan and are serving in other part of your AOR (Area of Responsibility).
“I look forward to working together with you to make sure that this is not a hardship posting for yourselves by ensuring that we quickly look at whatever requests you have.”
Earlier in his remarks, the GOC, Major-General Takuti Usman, sought the governor’s support in order to make the Division achieve the maintenance of peace and harmony in the state.
He assured the governor of the readiness of his Division to continue to participate fully in creating an enabling environment for the government, so that it could continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
He said: “We are paying more attention on the Highways, especially the Lagos/Ibadan highways. We don’t want to have a repeat of Abuja/Kaduna highway issue, even the interiors.
“I am happy that Your Excellency has shown me and my officers support and we will do our best. Whatever it is, we are aiming towards the general election and we will do our best to ensure nobody fights.”