President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday got another critical endorsement from 71 retired military generals, who expressed their readiness to work tirelessly toward his re-election in the February 16 general elections.
The retirees include: 13 major generals, eight Air Vice Marshal, AVM, two Rear Admirals, 12 Brigadier Generals, nine Air commodores, eight Commodores and 17 former military administrators.
They were led by former military administrator of Lagos State, Brigadier General Buba Marwa (retd) who is heading Presidential Advisory Committee for the elimination of drug abuse in the country.
Some notable retired officers in attendance include former President Goodluck Jonathan’s minister of police affairs, Navy Capt Caleb Olubolade, and former Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Jubril Ayinla.
Marwa, who was also military governor of Borno, said the retired top officers thought it right to visit Buhari, a retired major general, “to say that you have represented your constituency very well”.
“You announced a simple three-point agenda upon assumption of office namely security; fighting corruption, and the economy. You have kept your words as an officer and a gentleman.”
Marwa added: “We the retired armed forces officers, representing 99.9% of our colleagues say that we are proud of you; proud to be associated with your administration; and proud to witness this era of Nigeria rising again under your able leadership.
“We support you fully and totally in the presidential elections next week and will do whatever we can within the law to contribute to your emergence as the victor in the election in order to take Nigeria to the next level.’’
The most senior of the retired officers, Jubrila Ayinla, a retired vice admiral and former Chief of Naval Staff, said future generations would acquit Mr Buhari as the “most creditable” personality of his time.
“On behalf of the generals here today, I congratulate you on the tremendous work done by this administration, and wish to state unequivocally that we are proud of you and fully behind you in the presidential elections next week.
“We pledge our full support and continued loyalty,” he said.
Responding, the President thanked the retired generals for their support and reiterated that he would continue to do his best in serving the nation.
He revealed that he contested elections four times and ended up in Supreme Court three times, before he finally won the election in 2015.
Buhari said: “God has made this country great. We have human and material resources, and may God continue to give us the right leaders.
“My objective is very clear, and I will continue to do my best.’’
The President recalled what he said in his days as military head of state that.
“We have no other country but Nigeria. We will stay here and salvage it together.”
But while questioning the rationale for the endorsement, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stated that it was unfortunate that the said generals are not speaking up while officers and men of sundry military agencies are being killed by bandits and insurgents in some parts of the country.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, while addressing newsmen at the PDP presidential campaign headquarters, Maitama, Abuja, said, “We consider this endorsement as names dropping, just to create an aura that does not exist around President Buhari. Young officers are being killed and no General has spoken on how to curb the insurgency and banditry.
“Is it now that Nigerians are tired of the governance style of President Buhari that Generals will be endorsing him? When bandits are taking over Zamfara and even Katsina the home state of Buhari? The PDP does not believe any General worth his salt will do that,” he said.