The Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, has asked the military chiefs to act honorably by resigning their appointment amid the worsening insecurity if the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, refuses to sack them.
He stated further that the Buhari-led Federal Government should admit failure in the area of security, noting that governing the country and protecting lives and property is not rocket science.
In the same vein, elder statesmen, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai and Dr Junaid Mohammed, also backed Tambuwal’s position that it’s high time the military chiefs resigned.
Adebanjo argued that the President should also have resigned given the way the insecurity problem had festered under his watch.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Emmanuel Chapel, themed, ‘Rebuilding our lives: A case for hope and determination to succeed, Tambuwal explained that it was ironical that security agencies were short of personnel even when millions of Nigerians ready to serve were roaming the streets.
The webinar was also attended by banker and former President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; a former Vice-President of the World Bank, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili; former Emir of Kano and ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, and legal practitioner, Prof Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN).
There have been calls from different quarters, including the National Assembly, for the removal of the service chiefs, comprising the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, given the rising insecurity in recent times.
For example, no fewer than 43 farmers were killed by Boko Haram insurgents in Zabarmari village in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State on November 27.
Among several other attacks on innocent citizens in addition to kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery that have become prevalent across the country, over 300 pupils were kidnapped in Kankara, Katsina State on December 11.
Speaking on the issue of insecurity at the webinar, Tambuwal said, “As far back as June 2018, I made my opinion known about our service chiefs and the Inspector-General and I called for the rejigging of the security architecture.
“There is definitely a need for the service chiefs to go, either they are asked to go by the President who appointed them or by themselves being honourable enough to say we have done our best. It’s clear; even the Commander-in-Chief has said it not one or twice that their best is not enough.
“They should be honourable enough to say, Mr President, we have done our best, our best is not enough, you have adjudged our best not to be good enough, we take a bow, appoint a new set of people that would take charge.
“No one of us is indispensable. No single individual has the monopoly of knowledge of how to address the challenges we are facing as a nation, more so with insecurity, especially with the fact that they have been tested over the years. The same set of people and we have seen the outcome.
He also spoke on how the Federal Government had managed the security situation, saying leadership entails taking critical actions to address emerging challenges.
He said, “We must as a leadership admit that we are failing, and in this case, I mean the centre is failing in providing that leadership.”
Tambuwal, who is also a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, explained that security agents should be equipped with the proper weapons, good remuneration, the right technology and possible collaboration with other countries.
He added, “It is not rocket science; it can be done. We need to recruit more hands and there are many patriotic Nigerians, eminently qualified, able-bodied people that are ready and willing to serve this country in our security agencies. We know Nigeria is under-policed, so what is difficult in employing more hands?”
He pointed out that there had been a cordial relationship with security agencies in the state, adding that intelligence sharing among them and the support from the state government had helped to reduce crime in the state.
He added, “They have been working together in synergy in Sokoto, unlike what is happening at the national level, and we know that there is no synergy among the heads of the security agencies. They are not working together.”
He argued that insecurity had worsened, especially in northern Nigeria, because most of the countries sharing borders with the region such as Cameroon, Niger Republic, Chad, have “serious insecurity problems.”
Calling for the reduction in the cost of governance, he said it should be holistic and cut across all levels of government and arms of government.
Also, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, Adebanjo, who is a leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, lamented the worsening insecurity in the country, while calling on the service chiefs to resign if the President is reluctant to sack them.
Adebanjo said, “There is no question about this. Even him (the President) should have left (office) too considering the state of insecurity in the country. Despite the fact that people are saying they are incompetent, he kept them there (in office).
“People who are not saying this are not saying the truth. They (service chiefs) should have resigned. They should resign. There is no improvement in security. There is evidence of failure and incompetence. People are dying every day and they keep incompetent people there (in office).”
Mohammed, who is the convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, told one of our correspondents in a telephone interview that he aligned with Tambuwal’s position.
He said, “I agree with Governor Aminu Tambuwal totally and entirely; these people should simply resign. It is clear that they have run out of ideas. Even from their manner of appointment, it is only President Muhammadu Buhari who can tell you why he appointed them and why he is keeping them because they weren’t the most qualified at the time they were appointed.
“Those who are normally consulted formally or informally before such appointments are made, groups such as the National Security Council, the Army, Navy and Air Force councils as well as the National Security Adviser among others, were not consulted.
“These groups have information about individuals being considered for such appointments that the President may not be aware of. It is evident that these appointees have nothing fresh to offer as they are clearly overwhelmed by these security challenges.”
Yakasai, who is a founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, also said, “I certainly support any call that will better our security situation. We are certainly on the edge and the security of lives and property is seriously in jeopardy.
“Apart from the service chiefs who I believe are still enjoying the perks that come with their offices, the pressure should be directed at the President who has the powers to hire and fire them. It is he who has the task of sending them away.”
Meanwhile, a retired military officer, Major General Obi Umahi, told Saturday PUNCH that Tambuwal’s call was only advisory.
He said, “Tambuwal’s call is just advisory. It is left for the service chiefs to take the advice or reject it, but the governor cannot direct or compel the Presidency to act in line with what he thinks.
“Resignation from office is not our culture. We have not acquired that culture, so hiring and firing belongs to the boss. When we get to that point people will begin to ask for it. Even those in lower positions than the President who have not performed also should resign when we acquire such culture.
“However, we should not put all the blame of the worsening insecurity on the military. Even Nigerians share in the blame. We are not security conscious, otherwise, we will be able to help the security agencies to perform their role because the security agents cannot be everywhere.”
It’s time to establish if Buhari has capacity to run Nigeria – Ezekwesili
Meanwhile, Ezekwesili said the President was not discharging the duties of his office and that it was time to establish “whether our President is capable of continuing to run Nigeria.”
She argued that anything less than restructuring the country would not save the country from its current woes, adding that it would amount to a waste of time to have intellectually stimulating conversations yet people in leadership positions do nothing.
Speaking on the way forward, Ezekwesili stated, “From research, I carried out, what is instructive is that the use of the Permanent Voter Cards that are based on the right kind of rational political choices by an enlightened, engaged and empowered citizenry can actually change our outcome. But it cannot change it alone.
“The second point is to have a regulatory environment for politics that is credible and one which adjudicates the process of politics in a way that is fair, anchored on the rule of law and is trustworthy.
“The third is to have quality political actors that would respond to the common interest of the citizens. In other words, your political class cannot remain what it is and you want to get a different outcome. This lend helplessness of our citizens must come to an end and the middle class must stop complaining.”
It’s painful Nigeria couldn’t produce COVID-19 vaccines – Aig-Imoukhuede
In his remarks, Aig-Imoukhuede said leadership, both in the private and public sectors, has a huge role to play in the development of the country, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, exposed the poor state of the health sector.
He added, “In the case of Nigeria, what COVID-19 has done is to put a spotlight on the level of underdevelopment that exists in our health system. We cannot remove the leadership issue from the issues of health.
“The most fundamental and painful factor to me is why are we not able to produce the vaccine here? China, India, Vietnam and others are producing. These are things we must ask ourselves.”
Politicians alone not responsible for Nigeria’s woes, says Sanusi
Also speaking, Sanusi stated that civil servants could not be absolved of complicity in how poorly Nigeria had been governed.
He added that there was a need to examine the extent the country had lost its institutions, adding that despite the rules, those in charge don’t apply them.
“Simply sticking to the rules in the civil service could save us a lot of trouble, because very often we blame the politicians,” he said.
He cited how his father as a federal Permanent Secretary stood firmly against the decision of the government to unjustly retire some ambassadors during the regime of Murtala Mohammed in 1975 because the government’s move violated civil service rules.
He added, “The question is that if every Permanent Secretary at that time had done what my father did, would there have been a purge of the civil service, and for me, that was a learning point. If you are running an institution, you must understand the values of the institution and be ready to stand by those values. Preserving the values is far more important than preserving your seat. This is something I think we have lost as Nigerians.”
In a related development, the Chief of Army Staff said the army will shame and disgrace Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province terrorists in 2021.
According to PRNigeria, he spoke at a sit-out night to usher in the New Year at the TY Buratai Institute for War and Peace, Buratai in the Biu Local Government Area of Borno State.
The army chief said the troops had done a lot in the fight against insurgency in the North-East and banditry in the North-West in 2020, adding that they were committed to decisively deal with all forms of insecurity in the country.
Buratai told the troops to dedicate themselves to the task of eradicating terrorism by maintaining the tempo in 2021 with more determination and action to end insurgency in the country.
He also urged the troops to work with more discipline, commitment and courage, adding that the military had the responsibility of solving the nation’s insecurity problem.
According to him, they must work extra hard to win the confidence of Nigerians.
He said, “The nation trusted and believed in us to deal with the security challenges – issues of insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and other forms of insecurity. We must not fail; we should see it as a challenge and a task that must be done to resolve it once and for all.
“I am very optimistic that 2021 will be totally and remarkably different from 2020. I want you to see it as a challenge and a task that must be done because we are the ones that can do it; Nigerians believe in us that we can do it.
“You should go into the year with full conviction that we can do better to address the insecurity in our country.”
Buratai also commended the President for his support and confidence in the preceding years, while promising that officers and men of the army would enjoy many welfare packages in 2021.
Insecurity setting Nigeria back at critical points, says Buhari
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), says insecurity is having an adverse effect on the economic growth of Nigeria.
He said this in his New Year speech, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday.
The president, who described insecurity as a challenge, decried violence in the country.
He said insecurity is setting Nigeria back at “critical points” through the destruction of public and private investments.
According to him, the nation is on a difficult journey to nationhood and greatness.
Buhari said, “The persistence of various forms of violence has meant that in the most affected parts of the country, the fabric of inter-communal harmony woven through years of investment of effort at building trust, mutual respect, and harmony has been threatened.
“Insecurity as a challenge has direct repercussions on our national economic stability, growth, and development, setting us back at critical points through the destruction of public and private investments.
“In parts of the country where chronic poverty, social exclusion, and disillusionment among sections of the youth were already a problem, the cycles of violence that have been unleashed by mindless groups like Boko Haram and others have thwarted the efforts of the government to undertake the social policy and associated investments that could make a huge difference in the quality of life of our citizens.”
The president added that his regime is “re-energizing and reorganizing the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police with a view to enhancing their capacity to dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremists and criminal groups waging war against our communities in some parts of the country”