Nigerians are very difficult people. Most times, we baselessly portray ourselves as people who infinitely fault everything, including our own shadows, which we have no idea about its existence. To have a probing mind is a positive asset, especially when it is devoted to positive use. But in our case, we are more prone to the negation offered by useless and unproductive criticisms steeped in lies.
I was amazed at recent media reports faulting the extension of the tenure of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin. The extension is just for one year and our writers or let me say, armchair critics have found it necessary and expedient to fault the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to accord him this privilege.
And to find justification for the unwarranted pen assault on the President and also, Gen. Olonisakin, all manner of lies have been invented and embellished to give the warped thoughts of the critics some semblance of truth.
A reporter with one of the national dailies particularly displayed a confounding ignorance by crafting a report, which admits everything right about the re-appointment of Gen. Olonisakin. But the evil inclination to paint every action of government in black pushed him to submit to chicanery.
A part of the report, which he credited to weird investigation laughably said, “Buhari’s decision to extend the tenure of the CDS which would have ended this weekend, was due to political maneuverings by vested interest who wants to ensure that the two most powerful positions in the military, that of the CDS and that of the Chief of Army Staff, remain in the core north.”
I do not know what investigation as claimed by the reporter rewarded a fresh genealogy to the CDS General Olonisakin as a Northerner. To put the records straight, Gen. Olonisakin is not a Northerner as claimed by the cop reporter.
The Defence boss is an indigene of Ekiti state in Southern Nigeria. And this deliberate and mischievous muddling of facts has automatically invalidated the further claims by the reporter that President Buhari “wants to ensure that the two most powerful positions in the Military, that of the CDS and that of the Chief of Army Staff, remain in the core north.”
Nothing can betray truth more pungently than this disingenuous contrivance. How would Buhari scheme to maintain the two most powerful positions in the military in the core north? By the way, what is or constitute “Core North” and criteria were used to determine which positions in the military are powerful and less powerful?
Do we believe on the strength of the reporter’s submissions that the Chief of Air Staff and his Naval counterpart are insignificant positions in the military? Do I even believe that politics is factored into the appointment of Service Chiefs; an exercise I know is strictly guided by seniority and merit?
It is sluggish journalism for reporters to speculate unauthenticated news and pass them as facts. The devotion of a little time would have informed the reporter that the extension of the tenure of Gen. Olonisakin was spurred by his excellent performance and dedication to the counter-terrorism war in the Northeast and elsewhere in Nigeria.
The CDS’s tremendous sacrifices and seamless working relationship with the various arms of the military made President Buhari to accord him this rare honour. And the intention is nothing other than allowing him complete the absolute flushing of terrorists from the shores of Nigeria. It is not about any political maneuvering as implied.
Perhaps, the lazy journalist has never burdened himself with thoughts of visiting Borno state, which was the hotbed of terrorism or the Northeast region, when terrorism raged. All he knows about the battle with Boko Haram insurgents and its eventual defeat by the Nigerian military are media reports, some of which under reported the severity of the problem or failed to reflect the exactitude of events in the Northeast.
So, he is not primed to appreciate the enormous responsibilities placed on the shoulders of the Nigerian military in battling terrorism and the sacrifices they have made so that Nigerians, including him, now live in peace. If the President decides to reward a service of excellence to the CDS, why would anybody attempt to pick bones or even frown at the use of his discretion?
I hail from the South of Nigeria. And like some Nigerians, I was one of those who never strongly believed in the person of President Buhari as leader of Nigeria. I was frankly cynical about him. But I have also realized that sometimes, it is more reasonable to give a man the chance to prove himself.
And since Buhari mounted the seat as Nigeria’s President, he has demonstrated in words and deeds a religious commitment to the cause of this country. In him, you see the portrait of a man deeply pained at the destruction of Nigeria by a corrupt political elite and perpetual power mongers in the country. I have come to see him as the most detribalized Nigerian leader and it reflects in all his actions as President of Nigeria.
Today, the Southeast region, which rejected him at the polls are proud beneficiaries of programmes and projects of his administration. The number of roads currently ongoing in the region would make anyone think, the people led other sections of the country in voting for a Buhari Presidency.
But essentially, these are the credentials of Buhari and when he declared in his maiden speech to Nigerians that “I am for nobody, but I am for everybody,” it casted off the shadows of partisanship, ethnicity and religious considerations in his administration of the country.
So, I am pained at the vile attempts by the reporter to discolour the extension of the tenure of Gen. Olonisakin with regional garbs. The desperation is awful and the intent despicable. Instead of applauding Buhari for his impartial patronage of the Southern region, particularly the Southwest, the spoilers have rather delighted in condemnations. The ulterior motive of playing one section of the country against as manifested in the jaundiced report is condemnable.
If other over-ambitious senior military officers nurse the ambition of becoming the CDS, there is no problem with it. But they should be patient enough to wait for their time, as ordained by God. To meaninglessly castigate Buhari for a decision he has taken, which has neither violated laws of the land nor is motivated by ulterior motives is regrettable and lamentable.
I feel betrayed by this reporter for his thoughtless display of ignorance about personalities and their geographical entities in rendering service to the nation. Hmm! This is noisy noise, devoid of any iota of reasoning.
I look at it more as a desperate attempt to poison the mind of Mr. President against the South because a man falsely accused is sometimes compelled to act on the reverse side of the accusation. We must discourage this thinking; if Nigeria must become the dream nation we wish it.
By Prince Success
Success is a public affairs analyst and contributed this piece from Abuja.