Ayinla stated this on Wednesday while speaking as a special guest of honour at the opening ceremony of a the Alumni Association of the National Defence College (AANDEC/NDC) 5th Annual Security Seminar in Abuja
He noted that the political atmosphere is charged and Nigerians are still very skeptical of military intentions and wary of their intervention in the country’s democratic processes.
He cited recent example where a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah was misconstrued to be an intention for an interim government.
“Very recently and just last week the chief of army staff met with some of his officers and straight away it is in the press that there is a plan to form a government led by the chief of army staff himself”, he said.
As a temporary solution to the incessant suspicion by the civil populace, he recommended a minimum of 10 years embargo for retired military personnel to venture into politics.
“The military should be seen to be completely apolitical, you must be neutral, and when I say the military I mean all security forces, including the police and paramilitary, especially this year and time of elections.
“I think we got it wrong there, I have to mention this because you are the future of the military, I’m not allowed to speak to the press, that’s how it should be. And if you want to be a politician you drop the uniform and go and contest elections, then you can talk to the press, you can give your opinion, and do anything you want to do, I am saying this as a injunction”, he added.
He continued: “Now in some of the other climes that I have mentioned, if you want to be president or in the senate, they will ask you what national service was, where did you serve in the armed forces.
“In Nigeria it is the other way round, you are derided for having served in the armed forces, yes because of our involvement in politics, so what do I advise, the military should sit back, and let the civilians, the politicians do their thing, make their mistakes, correct their mistakes. And I would say that maybe after retirement you should wait until after 10 years, before you dabble into politics, let the time come when the nation will be looking for those of you who served honourable to come and lead them”.
Ayinla said that the ongoing counter-terrorism operation against the Boko Haram has brought global attention, especially those of the world powers to Nigeria.
He emphasised on the need to preserve the country’s territorial integrity through effective security system that encompasses the tripod of economic, political and military security.
He advised that in order to effectively tackle the emerging security situation, the government needs a think-tank drawn from the retired military and security personnel.
“Security is a tripod, you have the political, you have the social and then the military aspects of it, once one leg is broken then the table cannot stand. I believe seriously that poverty and lack of education in those parts, is a serious root cause of the insecurity we have in those parts, especially poverty, they say a man that is down fears no fall.
“This nation has a gamut of well trained personal, experienced, not only in the armed forces, but in the nation as a whole that can do better, a tree cannot make a forest. I dare say a good government needs good advisers, needs good think tanks, in this college there should be designated fellows, who think for government in all aspects of governance”, he said.
According to former Naval Chief, a very high institution of learning like the NDC is meant to be a centre of excellence were “you discuss and affect your nation and I think what the alumni association is trying to do is apt but a bit late, this seminar should have held months ago to discuss our security issues.
“The situation we find ourselves with the insurgency in the north east should have been the subject of discourse. I’m sure that within the NDC itself the faculty you must have been discussing this issue, no institution is in place to proffer solutions to such security situations as we find ourselves”.
Speaking further, Ayinla said that “we have a contemporary security situation which is very challenging, and while politicians are busy canvassing for votes, we are here trying to see how we can help the government to solve some of the security situations we have found ourselves in”.
He noted that the situation affects not only Nigeria, but in fact the entire world, it has caught the attention of the super powers and even our neighbors in West Africa.
“I would recommend to you how this situations have been handled in other climes and I think there are a lot of materials which can help you in this situation, if you recall some of the people we don’t take seriously are musicians, but jimmy cliff an acclaimed musicians of world repute said in one of his songs, that a slave is still a slave if it cannot live independently”, he said.
He insisted that no “nation with Nigeria inclusive can develop if security is lacking in its geographical environment, the corporate existence of every nation is always threatened by insecurity in all its forms”.