By: James K.Kadi,Jr.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has stressed the need for personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to be neutral during this year’s presidential and legislative elections.
Speaking Saturday at this year’s Armed Forces Day celebration in Monrovia, Mr. Obasanjo said officers of AFL must always perform their duties in accordance with the law, especially respecting the rights of citizens.
He urged them not to engage in unprofessional conducts which have the propensity to undermine the integrity of the army.
The former Nigerian President warned against politicizing the army, noting that the army must at all time remained neutral and professional.
Former President Obasanjo said the army on no account should be involved in non-military duties during the conduct of elections.
He said the army must focus on the security of Liberia during the electoral period, emphasizing that “never should the military be involved in the conduct of elections.”
He underscored the need to build the capacity of the military in order to better serve the nation.
Former President Obasanjo praised the Liberian government for professionalizing the army, adding “it is evidenced that the decision to build a professional force for good from bottom up is paying off.”
Meanwhile, the former Nigerian President congratulated President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for what he calls “outstanding leadership” as Chair of ECOWAS for the mediation role she played during the recent Gambian crisis.
In remarks, President Johnson-Sirleaf, Commander-in-Chief for Armed Forces of Liberia, extolled the army for always rising to the occasion irrespective of time, location, situation or condition.
She said the successful implementation of “Operation Restore Hope” by the army is a clear sign of the outstanding training and disciplines personnel of the force have received over the years.
President Johnson-Sirleaf commended the United States Government for the professional training of the military.
She also praised China and other development partners for helping to equip the new army.
She disclosed that officers of the army are currently on a peacekeeping duty in Mali while others are assigned at the headquarters of the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) as part of the regions standby force.