The Nigerian Army has denied all and any involvement of her troops in politics nor her troops supporting any particular candidate in the forthcoming elections. A statement signed by Director Defence Information Major General JIMMY AKPOR on 18 October 2022, reads in full…
The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to two videos circulating online. The first video clip consciously portrays troops making merry and dancing to music purportedly in celebration and openly endorsing one presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections. The second video clip (with the same visuals as the first one) willfully shows troops supposedly dancing to a derogatory song that insults the personality of another presidential candidate. At face value, the videos send a disturbing signal to members of the public and the political class in particular, as the videos seemingly connote partisanship by military personnel and by extension, the entire military establishment.
On closer scrutiny, however, it is obvious that the original visual content (which was used for the two videos) was manipulated to produce the current ones in circulation. The original soundtrack of the videos was a usual morale-boosting song that soldiers sing during military exercises or activities. Unfortunately, certain individuals who are unknown at this point, took the video and superimposed different songs on the visuals, which soon went viral, thereby creating the odious impression that soldiers were promoting the candidacy of a particular politician while disapproving the another.
While it is within the right of individuals to create media content for political purposes, it is grossly disingenuous to appropriate video of military activity and use the same to create contents that portray the military as partisan, political and unprofessional. This is particularly despicable as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections. For 23 years since 1999, the military has toiled night and day to protect and keep guard over Nigeria’s democracy. Thus, the same military cannot afford to be partisan or commit to any enterprise that would create disharmony in the polity.
In light of the foregoing, the Defence Headquarters seriously frowns at the deliberate attempt to misrepresent it and wishes to caution media and Public Relations handlers as well as supporters of political parties to desist from misusing images and visuals of military personnel as this does not only present the Armed Forces of Nigeria in a bad light, it could also sow seeds of distrust and instability. There is, therefore, the need to be circumspect while copywriting, never to use military personnel, their activities, uniforms or accoutrements as the main themes or for illustration of the main message in political advertisements or any such productions. Defaulters would henceforth be fished out and made to face the wrath of the law.