…backs Ohanaeze, others’ appeal for review, inclusion of Igbo officer
A coalition for good governance has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his choice of Service Chiefs, saying the team was better positioned to deal with the ravaging insecurity across the country.
Members of the professional group said the appointment of Major-General Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), will facilitate better coordination of the Service Chiefs, considering his operational and command capabilities that had warned him many military laurels in the past.
They stated that being a tested General, who had commanded Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) in the North East, as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), it was just a matter of time, and the ravaging insurgency will be a thing of the past.
Operating under the banner of Coalition of Nigeria Professionals for Peace and Good Governance (CNPPGG), the professionals, however, aligned with the position of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, calling for a review of the appointments, with a view to including at least a worthy senior officer of South East extraction among the Service Chiefs.
In a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Prof. Abiola Odukoya; National Secretary, Dr. Andy Ifeanyi and National Programme Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Kankara, respectively, the group said a review of the appointment process will be just and proper.
Also, members of the coalition have tasked Senators and House of Representatives’ members on the urgent need to invoke the federal character principle during the screening and confirmation of the Service Chiefs.
They contended that, as representatives of the over 200 million Nigerians, posterity will definitely be kind to them, if they drew President Buhari’s attention to the fact that a major ethnic bloc had remained consistently shut out in the service and security chiefs’ equation.
“We hasten to commend our amiable and progressive President, Muhammadu Buhari, for the careful selection and eventual appointment of the new set of Service Chiefs, who are coming at a time the security situation in the country is alarming.
“As professionals in our various fields of endeavours, we note with satisfaction, the choice of Major General Lucky Irabor, to lead the Service Chiefs in his capacity as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
“We are confident that General Irabor, having been commander, Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), as well as commander of the multinational joint task force (MNJTF) – all within the troubled North East general area – knows where to hit the terrorist elements the hardest,” the professionals said in the statement.
Notwithstanding, they have insisted on geo-political and ethnic balancing in the choice of military heads’ appointments, saying the development remained a soothing balm against marginalisation, as ably echoed by Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
The statement continues: “Considering our pan-Nigerian outlook, we are inclined to the appeal by South East stakeholders, led by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, for the review of the less- than-a-month-old appointment of Service Chiefs.
“President Buhari will earn himself a prominent place in history, if he gave a passionate thought to the calls for the inclusion of a senior Igbo officer in the team, which we hope will deliver the goods.
“He must resist ill-advice from certain mischievous individuals and groups, who often cast the Igbo nation in bad light, leading systematic exclusion which, to all intent and purpose, is unacceptable.”