Capt. Jauro Musa Liya (Rtd)
It is becoming a common knowledge that the unnecessary clamor and call for the sack of service chiefs has a hidden hand. If the call by Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) for sack of service chiefs is anything to go by, then we can point at where the voices of distractions and some actions that constitute security threats or compound the security challenges we are currently facing are emanating from.
The persistent and relentless call for the sack of service chiefs is tie to politics, forgetting that the problem of insecurity in Nigeria was created by politics with the army and other security agencies at the receiving end.
The so called Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) despite bringing over forty political parties to wrestle power in 2019 general elections, felt threatened by an obvious defeat by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and controversially announced the endorsement of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant as it’s presidential candidate.
The aforementioned coalition is simply a contraption to stop the ruling APC, but having lost roundly and squarely, it has become a lame duck and an agent of distraction. It keeps confusing it’s role for a pressure group with youthful exuberance and clear lack of forsight. It has since thrown caution and decorum to the wind and dabbles into everything except a better plan or solutions to their barrage of misguided criticisms. This time, it has dabbled into the debate on the tenure of service chiefs and threatened to sue the president for not sacking the service chiefs. This is particularly curious because a group of political parties who aligned to the opposition, and endorsed a presidential aspirant who once vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable, took this ignoble step hours after the convoy of the governor of Borno State was “attacked” along Baga road. I suggest that the deliberate timing for this ridiculous action of CUPP should form part of areas of investigation by any one interested to unearth the truth on the recent alleged or so called master minded attack on the convoy of the Governor in a town where peace has since been restored with normal life and socio-economic activities seamlessly taking place.
It should be noted that the tenure of Service Chiefs and the conditions for their appointment is provided for in the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service (HTACOS) 2017 for the Armed Forces. It spells out the ‘Tenure of Defence and Service Chiefs’. Section 11.08 stipulates;
“An officer appointed Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of the Naval Staff, Chief of the Air Staff shall bear four-star General and may hold the appointment for a continuous period of 2 years from the date of expiration of the initial 2 year period”.
Section 11.09 stipulates – “The foregoing notwithstanding;
“The President, C-in-C reserves the prerogative to extend the tenure of a CDS/Service Chief irrespective of his age or length of service”
It therefore very clear from the above, that there is no time or age limit on the tenure of service chiefs provided they are mentally and physically sound to shoulder the onerous responsibilities of the offices.
As President, Muhamnadu Buhari knows and understands the position of the law, and at his disposal is an array of legal luminaries. He equally has more information regarding the security situation in Nigeria as he gets his briefs directly from the service chiefs and other credible sources. He is therefore eminently the right arbiter and the most qualified authority to decide because he, more than any other person knows where the problems are.
We are dealing with a very serious issue than just collecting monies to organize press conferences and making bunkum calls for the sack of service chiefs.
This is why the call by CUPP is laughable and disgraceful. When some political parties say a particular crop of leaders in the military should be removed for whatever reason, it sounds very odd and amounts to reductio ad absurdum. We are dealing with a national issue, an issue of national pride and national interest and significance which shouldn’t be bastardise or stultify on the alter of politics, personal hatred and local rivalry at the detriment of national peace, security and development.
The desperation, politicisation and trivialisation of Nigeria’s security by vested interests and cohorts became alarming when the coalition of political groups called for the sack of service chiefs. It is embarrassing when the group didn’t deem it fit to commend the sacrifices and uncommon commitment of the security agencies and applaud them for retaking over lost territories as well as the successes recorded at various theaters of operations across Nigeria.
The fundamental strides of the army chief in particular, who restored the morale of the officers and men of the Nigerian Army in diverse ways which accounted for the noticeable successes recorded in the war against terrorism and banditry especially in the North East and North West operational arenas.