The decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the tenure of the chief of defence staff and service chiefs continues to draw diverse reactions across the country amid allegations that the move has political undertones and could undermine the career of other military officers. While the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, maintained silence, the Yoruba Afenifere flayed the decision.
The Spokesman for Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said: “Mr. President himself being a retired military officer, who rose to the post of Major General and Head of State should have better understanding of the fact that other officers’ careers would be affected negatively with the decision he took, which of course is not fair and is professionally wrong.”
He also faulted the move on the ground that it was part of the administration’s ploy ahead of the 2019 elections to suppress the opposition with military might.
“I don’t see the reason for extending the tenure of the current service chiefs except and unless he would prove there are no other competent officers to continue the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents in the country.”
According to him, “The present service chiefs are mere instruments in the hands of Mr. President to perpetrate himself and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in power in 2019.”
He noted: “It would also continue the current domination of the military environment by the Hausa/Fulani sections of the country,” adding: “If you take a critical look, the entire service chiefs, except one, are all from one northern section of the nation. “Apart from these, there also about 17 other service chiefs in other paramilitary organisations across the country dominated by the northern section. It is therefore unreasonable and suspicious of Mr. President to have extended the tenure of the chiefs. ”
But the President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetima, said there was nothing extraordinary about the development. According to him, “Considering the great job the service chiefs have been doing in terms of containing insurgencies across the country, they need to be encouraged. Bringing in new people now would not help our situation as a nation, because the new ones would have to start learning.”
He said since the tenure of the Buhari government would soon end, there was no need to change a winning team. However, Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd), a former member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, said Buhari might have taken the decision based on the trust he has in the chiefs, and “which to some extent, I would support, on the premise that when the country was in crises, they held the nation together.”
In a statement, pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) criticised the extension.
It said: “The unprecedented third term extension of the tenure of offices of the current serving chiefs will inevitably create ethical issues of skewed reward system; it will create increasing levels of lack of professionalism and would ultimately lead to personalisation and politicisation of the constitutional offices of service chiefs.”
The rights group said the Boko Haram counter-terror war cited as an excuse did not justify the illegality because the terrorists increased the sophistication of their suicide bombing campaigns during the tenure of the chiefs.
Read more at: https://dailytimes.ng/afenifere-accuses-buhari-plans-use-service-chiefs-perpetrate-self-office/