The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has urged personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to, as much as possible, stay away from politics adding that their roles are clearly defined in the constitution as members of the force.
Abubakar stated this yesterday; at the NAF Headquarters, Abuja while declaring open the CAS conference with field commanders.
He said members of the Armed Forces have the right to vote for whomever they wish to but must stay away from politics and conduct themselves properly and also follow the guidelines of the polling station.
“As members of the armed forces, you have the right to vote whoever we want to vote, there are guidelines on how to vote in polling stations and how you conduct yourselves. But we must as much as possible stay away from politics, we must stay away from politics. Our role is clearly defined in the constitution and we must stick to that.
“What I was simply drawing the attention of my officers to is let’s go back to the constitutional provisions and clearly understand again what the military and the Air Force are supposed to do. It is just to lay emphasis so that people do not derail.
“I am not anticipating anybody to derail, of course because we are all in a professional service and we know exactly what our roles are and we must also not be distracted by political activities or by social media campaigns. I am not against social media, but when you read, use your head or else you might end up being distracted from your main focus which is to defend Nigeria and to protect the lives of Nigerians and their properties”, the Air Chief said.
He said the force is fully ready to support INEC with NAF transport facilities if called upon at any time.
“In the past, INEC has asked for our support in terms of moving some of their election materials using NAF transport aircraft, so, what I am saying is we have those facilities. In 2015, we participated in moving all these materials around so what we have done now or what we are currently doing, is to make sure that we have our transport air craft in the best of shapes should that need arise. We are willing to support if they ask.”
He said the aim of the Conference is to review the progress attained in the NAF since the last Conference and in addition, the Conference would afford the opportunity to critically assess the performance of the service in the past few months.
CAS further said the Conference equally provides an avenue to listen and get feedback from various field commanders while also keeping them abreast of the policy direction of the Headquarters, NAF.
He disclosed that he held a similar conference with the Air Warrant Officers and very Senior Non-Commissioned Officers of the NAF the previous day saying that the aim is largely to get a feedback from the personnel, as part of the bottom to top approach of the current NAF leadership.
The CAS reminded the senior officers that the 2019 general elections were fast approaching and therefore cautioned them not to allow themselves to be dragged into partisan politics. He further implored the senior NAF officers to stay focused on the discharge of the constitutionally assigned tasks of the NAF.
He assured that the NAF would continue to operate in line with its constitutional mandate and would also continue to work towards ensuring that the sovereignty of Nigeria is not undermined by any group of individuals.
He then advised the senior officers to take advantage of the resource persons, mostly retired senior NAF officers, who had been invited to deliver lecture ahead of the conference itself, expressing the belief that the NAF stood to benefit if the senior officers made good use of the knowledge that would be brought to bear by the resource persons.
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