A constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has described the commendation of the former Service Chiefs – Gen Abayomi Olonisakin, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, for their performance by President Muhammadu Buhari as shocking and an insult to Nigerians.
Ozekhome noted that it was wrong for the President to congratulate them and describe their achievements as “overwhelming” when the country was still at the mercy of bandits, kidnappers and the Boko Haram terrorists.
Ozekhome stated this in a release on Wednesday in which he reacted to the appointment of the new service chiefs.
The statement said the abysmal performance of the ex-chiefs with myriads of crimes being perpetrated all over the country was an indication that they failed woefully.
He said the total collapse of Nigeria’s security template has since led to about 23 out of 36 Nigeria states, establishing their local security outfits.
The statement partly reads, “Buhari’s more shocking aspect of the removal of the Service Chiefs from office, which has so far shocked Nigerians, is where he said he was congratulating them for their 'overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country'. 'Enduring peace?' Is this genuine peace, or peace of cemetery or the grave yards?
"My dictionary tells me that peace means tranquillity, calm, calmness, law and order, harmony, placidity, rest, armistice, friendship, brotherhood, serenity, contentment, amity, reconciliation. Can any Nigerian hold the Holy Bible, Holy Quran, or piece of iron (depending on your faith), and swear, that we have any of the above? I think not. I believe not. Then the President added the clincher, the diadem: the 'Service Chief’s overwhelming achievements'.
“If Mr President meant 'overwhelming achievements' in massive failure, I would concur. But, if he meant 'overwhelming achievements' in securing our country, I would not only disagree, I would say that is the unkindest oxymoron and irony, of all. I beg to differ sir, Mr President.
"The new Service Chiefs appear younger and lower in rank than their pot-bellied predecessors.
"Is this change of batton merely cosmetic? Is it new wine in old calabashes? Has anything suddenly changed in terms of new equipment, surveillance and intelligence capacity and capability? Does the hood make the monk? Can a book’s worth be known by the beauty of its cover? No. It is not yet Uhuru.
"What all this boils down to is that Nigeria needs to re-engineer, refurbish, rethink, reform and re-order her total security apparatchik. Indeed, it needs a complete overhauling, such as to bring it in line with modern international best practices in security engagement."
President Buhari on Tuesday appointed new service chiefs, finally letting go of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, after the four had spent five years and five months in office.
Although Buhari said on Tuesday that he accepted their resignation letters, the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, already clarified in the past that the military chiefs could not resign and had to be laid off by the Commander-In-Chief.
Buhari had on July 13, 2015, appointed Olonisakin, Buratai, Ibas, and Abubakar.
In a State House Press Release on Tuesday, Buhari’s Special Adviser, Femi Adesina, said the new service chiefs were: Major-General Leo Irabor as the CDS, Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru as the army chief, Rear Admiral A. Z. Gambo as the naval chief and Air-Vice Marshal I. O. Amao, as the new air chief.