*Your action unfair to South East, they tell Buhari
By Joseph Erunke
Northern elders have applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for finally taking action on Tuesday by sacking the nation’s service chiefs and appointing new ones in their stead.
They, however, knocked the president for excluding South East from the appointments, saying the president’s action against the Igbo Nation was inimical to the unity and one-Nigeria project of Nigeria’s founding fathers.
To this end, the elders operating under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD), appealed to the president to balance the equation by reviewing the appointments to reflect the nation’s federal character principle.
Their position was contained in a statement, signed by their National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, and made available to newsmen, Thursday, in Abuja.
The elders also urged President Buhari to review the appointment of the military heads to reflect fairness and equity.
The group which had relentlessly clamoured for the sack of the service chiefs over worsening insecurity in the country, overdue tenure and perceived low morale in the military following unnecessary tenure elongation for the security heads, thanked President Buhari for eventually taking action by relieving them.
“We completely throw our weight behind Ohanaeze Ndigbo on their position over the appointments of the new service chiefs. We vehemently appeal to Mr President for a review of the appointments to accommodate our Igbo brothers from the South East region in line with the federal character principle of the country. We are absolutely sure that taking this action will make the designers of our country happy where they are watching,” they said in the statement.
They added:” We received with great excitement the news about the sacking of the former service chiefs of the country by Mr President. It is quite commendable that the president finally listened to the clarion call by Nigerians to that effect.
“However, the composition of the service chiefs greeted us with mixed feelings and sincere concerns. We strongly believe that the list does not meet a fair list as it is lacking in fairness, justice, and equity to the south easterners.”
According to the group,”We thought some lessons would have been learnt by the Presidency by now that the Igbos too, are also Nigerians and deserve to be fairly and godly treated.”
“How can there be an appointment of two sets of service chiefs without any Igbo person among them? Is this fair? What exactly has the Igbo people done to deserve this kind of unfair treatment?”They asked.
The group said,”Our careful checks revealed that Igbos have senior and very qualified military officers in the Navy, Army, and Airforce who are serving faithfully in their various capacities! What is their sin?”
They added: “While we must state clearly that the appointment of service chiefs is the prerogative of the president as he can choose to appoint anyone from any zone, we wish to ask that what made the other geo-political zone more important than the South East?”
On the other hand, the Northern elders called on Ndigbo to remain calm and continue their unalloyed support to the Buhari’ administration, saying the development should not shirk their beliefs in the Nigeria project as according to them, the situation would be remedied.