President Muhammadu Buhari is set to sack service chiefs any time from now, New Telegraph learnt at the weekend. However, the shake-up in the top hierarchy of the military will not affect the police as the president is said to be disposed to retaining Mr. Solomon Arase who was appointed as the Inspector General of Police in the twilight of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The service chiefs to be affected in the purge of the high military command are Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Kenneth obiah Minimah; Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu and Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin. “All the service chiefs are going. In fact, they are gone. They are only waiting for the president to announce their sack. Even most of them have packed out their personal effects in their offices. Only the IGP will be retained,” a source said. But the source added that the delay in the sack of the service chiefs was due to a disagreement among political associates of the president over the choice of their replacements. “The president has drawn a list of his service chiefs, but when some political associates of the C-in-C saw it, they kicked against it.
The composition was tilted towards certain geographical zone. Hopefully, President Buhari will sack the service chiefs next week on or before his return from the G7 meeting holding in Berlin, Germany between June 7 and 9,” the source added. New Telegraph learnt that though Jonathan hurriedly appointed and confirmed Arase following the sack of Mr. Suleiman Abba after the former president’s loss at the March 28 presidential election, Buhari is said to be disposed to retaining the police boss.
Arase was appointed on April 21, 2015 and confirmed on May 12. Since 1999, each government always appoints new IGP. When former President Olusegun Obasanjo took over power on May 29, 1999, he appointed Musiliu Smith as IG to replace Mr. Ibrahim Coomassie. The late President Umaru Yar’Adua appointed Mike Okiro as IG in June 2007 shortly after he took over power.
Okiro succeeded Sunday Ehindero. However, the expectation was that Buhari would follow tradition and drop Arase for a new IG. The likely retention of Arase is based on a number of factors. One, he is considered to be highly professional and non-partisan.
Two, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are comfortable with his style of leadership and are not opposed to his retention. Third, he is from Edo State where the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, hails from. More so, his governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, was said to have supported his retention. Fourth, Arase, 59, who enlisted in the police in 1981, has only one more year to spend in the service before he is due for retirement. “President Buhari will retain Arase as IGP because of his professional conduct and the fact that he is due for retirement in 2016,” the source said.