..Carpets another group seeking extension of tenures for military chiefs

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA – AS President Muhammadu Buhari gets set to pilot the affairs of the country for the next four years, following his swearing in last Wednesday after his victory at the 2019 president election, a group loyal to his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC,has appealed to him to immediately relieve the nation’s service chiefs of their jobs.

: President Buhari with Minister of Defence Dan Ali Monsur, Chief of Defense Staff General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen. T.Y. Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral IE Ibas and Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar as he receives briefing from Service Chiefs in State House on 10th Oct 2017

The group under the aegis of All Progressives Congress, APC Support Core Group, said the sack of the service chiefs had become imperative for injection of fresh ideas in the country’s security challenges.

The National Convener of the group,Dr Jubrin Bichi,who stated the group’s position in a statement released Sunday,to newsmen, insisted that allowing the service chiefs to continue in their positions given the security problems being grappled by the country would not be in the best interest of anyone.

Even as he commended the service chiefs for what he called their “great contributions so far in fighting insecurity in the country”,Dr Bichi insisted that fresh hands were needed to tackle the problems.

The reaction of the APC Support Core Group, according to Dr Bichi became necessary, following the call by sponsored group under the umbrella of National Democratic Front, NDF, which accusing opposition and unnamed persons of allegedly being desperate to oust the current government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The NDF had warned them against heating up of the polity by attracting unnecessary attention to the military with propaganda, claiming it was reacting to reports in some quarters on the eligibility of the service chiefs to remain in office.

The Secretary General of NDF, Dr. Bolaji Abdulkadir, in a statement, said the claim was a clear indication that the oppositions were not tired on their quest to topple the current government.

It said the report of change of Service Chiefs was another coup plot by opposition elements to infiltrate the military for their sinister motive of destabilizing Nigeria’s democracy.

But reacting to the NDF claim,the APC Support Core Group, while flaring the group’s action,said it the claim lacked substance, adding that the NDF statement was rather inciting the populace against the government contrary to its claim.

“Ordinarily,we would not have responded to this unsubstantiated and inciting statement by this faceless group under the aegis of National Democratic Front,NDF but as a group very loyal to our respected party, the APC and having read the statement purportedly attributed to this faceless group,we feel duty-bound to respond so as not to mislead our president and our party that have been saddled with the mandate by Nigerians to pilot the affairs of the country for the next four years.

“We believe strongly that the service chiefs have tried their best to restore security in the country since their assumption of office, but given the dimension in which insecurity has assumed in the country,we feel that its high time fresh ideas and hands were injected.

“Nobody is an island in any area of responsibility. No doubt,the service chiefs have tried what they know how to do best but given that our president has been given fresh four-year mandate,we believe it would be in his interest and also in the best interest of the nation for him to start the renewed term with new set of security chiefs with fresh ideas,”Dr Bichi said in the statement.

According to him, “the only way to get fresh ideas for the President to address the security challenges is to remove the incumbent service chiefs to give room for younger officers to grow.

The nation, he said, should do away with unproductive tenure elongation in areas where fresh ideas are needed.”

“We know the way the military organisations operate. Those with fresh ideas dare not come out against their superiors or else they risk premature retirement from service. So the current service chiefs should go to allow officers with fresh ideas address our alarming security issues,”he added.

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The statement added:”While we commend the service chiefs for their services to their motherland so far, we appealed to our dear president to immediately sack these service Chiefs who are already in their retirement years but are still kept in service by the President in what many have interpreted as partisan needs.

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“Their continued stay in office no doubt,is gradually weakening the morale in the armed forces as three sets of officers have now had their careers stagnated.”

While praying the president to initiate new action to halt killings and kidnappings of Nigerian citizens,the APC Support Core Group maintained that insecurity is being sustained unabated by sheer negligence or exhaustion of ideas by the nation’s service chiefs.

“While we will not want to respond to issues of security as being steered by a supposedly sponsored group in its mission for self aggrandizement, the APC Support Core Group feels constrained to advise where necessary given that our president and by extension, our party has the mandate of Nigerians to provide good and quality governance devoid of self consideration above national interest.

“The deliberate ploy by the so called NDF to heat up the polity unnecessarily with its unfounded claim ‘that this same opposition had been named in a plot to pressure President Muhammadu Buhari to drop the service chiefs so that a new crop of military chiefs that are sympathetic to the opposition will be appointed following which they will overthrow the government and hold a shabby transition to hand over power to the opposition’,is uncalled for”,he added.

Recall that the NDF had in its statement claimed that some opposition groups were behind the call for the sack of the service chiefs so as to get their lackeys installed.

Its statement had read in part:“The second factor that gives us concern is that this same opposition had been named in a plot to pressure President Muhammadu Buhari to drop the service chiefs so that a new crop of military chiefs that are sympathetic to the opposition will be appointed following which they will overthrow the government and hold a shabby transition to hand over power to the opposition.

“There is no proof that the opposition has renounced this plot, which means the concocted stories about the Service Chiefs is a pointer to how the plot is being modified in the aftermath of the elections.

“Already, we are already witnessing series of unwarranted protests that were previously revealed as the excuse that rouge military personnel that have been recruited would use to attempt unseating the government.

“We are equally concerned that even if the opposition has no design to overthrow the government, the twentieth anniversary of our transition from military dictatorship to civil rule is not the best time to focus unnecessary attention on the military.

“Obsessing about the military chiefs and their tenure at a time when there are other pressing issues of national development amounts to saying that some people want the military back in the saddle of leadership or that they are nostalgic about losing the civil rights that many Nigerians died to secure for the country. Such mind-set goes beyond irresponsible and is squarely in the territory of criminality.

“We are aware how these same people that are peddling rumours about the sack of military chiefs have been the ones worsening the country’s security breaches.

“They have coined fancy names for the people they contracted to cause trouble for Nigeria so that the true extent of their complicity will remain hidden.”

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