Security: Buhari Finally Bows To Pressure To Force The Former Service Chiefs Into Resignation Replacing Them With Chips Of The Old Block


By Stephen Ubanna

At long last President Muhammadu Buhari  has bowed to pressure from both official circles and unofficial circles to remove Gabriel Olonisakin, an army General and Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, Yusuf  Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief  of Army Staff, Sadiq Abubakar, an Air Marshall and Chief of Chief Air Staff . The last but the list of the old  service Chiefs removed were Ibok –Ete kwe Ibas, Chief of Naval State.

Femi Adesina, Senior Special Assistant to the Katsina state born Nigerian President who broke the cheering news to Nigerians on Tuesday, January, 26, 2021,  had said that the Nigerian President  has approved the appointment of Leo Irabor, an Army Major General and an indigene of Edo state, south-south Nigeria as the new CDS,. Until his appointment as the new  CDS, Irabor   was the Theatre Commander   of the antiterrorism  war Code name name, ‘’ Operation Lafyle Dole.  Ibrahim Attahru, also a Major General and now  Chief of Army Staff was the General Officer Coomanding, GOC, 82 Division, Ibadan, Oyo state, south west Nigeria.  Also on the  list of the new service chiefs were  Awwal  Zubairu Gambo,  a Rear Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff  while  Isiaka Oladayo Amao, a Vice Marshall, is the Chief of Air Staff.

Major-Gen, irabor: CDS

While appreciating   their retirement after more than 35 years in the service,  the Nigerian President   had thanked the  old  service Chiefs  over what he described as ‘’their overwhelming  achievements in the government’s efforts  at bringing  enduring peace  to the nation’’.  He had wished them  well  in their future endeavours.

 Given the circumstances that had brought the new service chiefs  into office  which enjoys  nation-wide support,  he has urged  the new appointees  ‘’to be loyal and dedicated  in the discharge  of their new responsibilities’’.

Prior to the removal of the old service Chiefs by the Nigerian President, there had been repeated calls by the National Assembly , urging  him to do so. The killing of the 44 rice farmers in Zamara village in Borno state  by the Islamic Fundamentalists, BokoHaram, may have strengthened the resolve of the Lawam Ahmad led All Progressive Congress dominated Senate  to call  for the sack of the service chiefs  and introduction of fresh hands with fresh ideas.

The argument of the Lawmakers  was that the military  in conjunction   with the other security agencies  between 2015 and now   have not been able  to quell  the insurgency  affecting the north eastern states  of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe    in spite of the   slogan by the government officials, including the President, himself,  that that the insurgents have been technically defeated.

Ahmad , the Senate President, may have known that the Nigerian  that the Nigerian President  would sack the  old service  as far back as  last December  when he assured  the Lawmakers  not to not to worry   over the country’s security as the President will implement their resolution as  regards to the removal of the replacement of the old service services with fresh hands. ‘’ He had said that the demands are not frivolous that the Buhari, will not implement them.  The Senate President assurance may have given the Lawmakers the optimism that the days of the old service chiefs were numbered.

Vice Marshall Amaoo: New C.AS

The northern elders appears to have  had an insight that the retired army General, President and Commander –In-Chief of the armed Forces ,   would sack the service chiefs. They had expected the Nigerian to lace  his New Year to Nigerians with the sack of the old service Chiefs, but were disappointed  that  he failed to yield  to call of Nigerians to sack the service chiefs who had outlived their usefulness. The northern elders who could not hide their feelings had said that  the old security Chiefs    had worsened the security situation in the north ,  as it had emboldened   the Criminals, Bandits and insurgents  to carry out their nefarious attacks on the  villages  following the  ‘’kid approach  policies that that had been adopted  by the  security in dealing with them.

They had insisted that for a  new  positive result, there must be  an immediate  change  of guard  that reflect  the Federal Character Principles’’.  Particular, the north east elders , had said that  the old service chiefs not indispensable and therefore, must be replced.  Zana Goni,  an Engineer, and  National Coordinator of the north east Elders Forum   had said that ‘’the continued   retention  of the old service Chiefs  many years after  the expiration  of their retirement  date  was not only unconstitutional  but had weaked the morale of the military personnel and the front line troops’’.  The may have matters worse for them whem when they said  that their continued stay  in office  was not adding value  to the nation’s security management team’’.

Major-Gen. Attahiru: CAS

Goni and the other north east elders who could not hide their feelings had  asked the Nigerian President  to listen to the voice of reason  by relieving the old security chiefs  of their offices, and   increase defense budget, stressing that it is the only way  for Nigeria  to regain its security gloriousness which had been lost over the years.

Even Babaga Zulum, a Professor who has been described as the weeping governor of Borno,   who has been ambushed twice by the Insurgents  along the Bama –Maiduguri road, had repeatedly called for the sack of the old service Chiefs The governor had said that the call was  necessitated  by the risising wave of insecurity  in the north east, particular, his home state Borno.

An aggrieved governor had said that  the rising wave of insecurity in the region and the country in general was ‘’portraying  the Buhari Administration  in bad light given his Oath of Office  to protect Lives and Prperty’’.   The governor who could not hide his feelings had said that   the attack  on a Chief  security officer  of a state was  a clear indication   that ‘’no one  was safe in the country’’, urging the Nigerian President to take action  towards reposing  the people’s Confidence in the government by sacking the service Chiefs.

Recall that Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria,  had said last December   the massacre   of 44 rice farmers   in Borno state  was enough reason   for the Nigerian President to sack the old service Chiefs , insisting that   that ‘’savage killings was a signpost of incompetence  and ineptitude  on the part of those in power’’.   Falana, who is  the National Coordinator of Alliance  for the Survival  of COVID 19, and Beyond, ASCAB, had urged the Nigerian President   to  take drastic action by sacking the service Chiefs. The retired army General , may have ignored all the calls as Adesina, his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity , had said that he would’’ sack the service Chiefs at his own time’’.  True to Adesina’s words. He may have done so at his own on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, when all hopes had been lost.Appearing on Channels Television to Comment on the replacement of the old  service Chiefs , no sooner the action the action was taken,  he had said , the President  knew the time  to sack the service Chiefs   and Ibelieve  ‘’the time has come  and that is why  he has done it’’.

LT.Gen. Buratai: Former CAS, Forced Out Of Office

He had faulted the claims that  their resignation  was as a result  of a number of  security failures under  their tenure or a result of pressure  mounted  on the government   for the sack of  the service Chiefs. Hope Uzodimma, a one time Senator, Federal Republic of Nigeria and now governor of Imo state  on the ticket of the APC,  had said that  the appointment of the new service Chiefs  by the Nigerian President  have clearly shown  that  he is a ‘’responsive leader who listens  to the yearnings of the people’’.   The Imo state governor who has Congratulated the Buhari for appointing the new service Chiefs   has urged them   ‘’to ensure    they live up to the expectations  of their portfolios’’. 

Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state on the Platform of the Opposition People’s Democratic, PDP, who has been described  by Rochas Okorocha,  a one-,  time governor of Imo state  on the ticket of APC and now a Senator  of Federal Republic of Nigeria as one of Nigeria’s most  Controversial  governors, whose pictures has mysteriously appeared as a Presidential Candidate in the upcoming 2023, Presidential elections may have live up to Okorocha impression of him.  Instead of Congratulating the new service Chiefs, he has cautioned them  against  politicizing  the state  of security  by making alliances,’’, an indication that  the former service Chiefs may have  failed  in his own thinking because they politicized security issues and  formed alliance  with the ruling APC .

Paulinus Nsirim, the state Commissioner for Communication may observed some lapses in the governor’s remarks over the new service Chiefs   that he quickly  issued a Statement  stressing that  ‘’Buhari deserves Commendation  for ‘’finally  listening  to the voice  of the people’’.  The new service Chiefs are expected to wear their new ranks  to match  their new offices  soon. Irabor, a Major General, and the new CDS, is mostly likely to wear  a four Star General rank, as the most senior officer in the team  which the  other service Chiefs would wear three Star General ranks, rank last won by their predecessors.    

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