Nigeria: The Unlikely Marriage Between Buhari, Tinubu And El-Rufai And Other Issues
By Eze Eluchie
In my book, ‘Reign of Evil’, I did quote a gentleman and fine officer, General Muhammadu Buhari’s dictum on Nigeria being our only country and our having to remain in it and ‘salvage it together’. Though inability to effectively cleanse the polity when he had the opportunity and the lopsided nature of activities of the PTF under his watch remain
touchy spots, it is however quite unfortunate that the Nigeria political terrain will force such a man to hobnob and with vile characters in his quest to attain political office to sanitize our polity. (My take on the PTF job was that Buhari executed it exactly as was mandated by the Abacha regime.)
Each time characters like the roguish Nasir el-Rufai and sly Bola Ahmed Tinubu come within 100 meters of General Buhari, talk less of posing for pictures with the General, they pollute the ambience around Buhari and stain his character.
With regards to the purported efforts at a coalition with Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), Buhari will do himself and his person a world of good to learn from the experience of an opportunist, Nuhu Ribadu, who was comically paraded around Nigeria during the 2011 general elections by the ACN only to be traded off in one of the most despicable acts of political treachery and foolery ever witnessed.
I believe the General remains a good product being wrongly packaged. With the continued romance with imps, the product risks contamination.
Lets restructure and renegotiate this contraption.
On the alleged lopsided promotions in the Army
The myopic editorial slant of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s (and by extension, the Action Congress of Nigeria’s) The Nation newspapers is symptomatic of the Nigerian malady.
Clear efforts to play the ethnicity card and hype regional sentiments, in of all places the Military establishment, is further indication that we are headed for a looming apocalypse in Nigeria.
The pedestrian write-up (see below) is so filled with incredulous innuendos whilst at the same time quoting extensively from so-called petitions from unnamed sources.
To think that some of the characters behind this publication are scamming to form a coalition that will rule Nigeria is pathetic!
Let’s restructure and renegotiate our contraption whilst there is yet time.
That time is fast running out!
The National Assembly has been inundated with petitions arising from the recent promotion and retirement of senior officers in the Nigerian Army.
Most of the petitioners are accusing the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, of favouring the South East where he comes from at the expense of the North and the South West.
The petitioners also claim the South East was heavily favoured ahead of the other five geo-political zones in the recruitment of soldiers into the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria and particularly faulted the promotion of a military aide to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua who they accused of preventing President Goodluck Jonathan from becoming the acting President of the country.
They want the National Assembly to intervene in the matter and President Jonathan to review the alleged lopsidedness in the promotions.
According to the petitioners, the COAS overuled the Army Council by exceeding the number of officers recommended for promotion, while junior officers were being promoted above their seniors without any regard for the rules.
Alleged marginalization of some crack officers which began in 2010,they said, has now snowballed into tension within the Army.
They claimed that the discrimination is more pronounced in Ordinance Corps, Armoured Corps, Supply and Transport Corps, Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and graduates of National Defence College, especially courses 19 and 20.
The petitioners,in one case,said: “There is a new dangerous trend in promotions and recruitment in the Nigerian Army which should be firmly and promptly checked before it destroys the military and the country.
“This trend is clearly visible in the manner in which the current Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, is handling these two important aspects of running an effective army institution which is very critical to the survival of any state.
” It appears that the Chief of Army Staff is on a specific mission, most probably, sponsored by some sinister dark forces bent on destroying the army and setting the country on the path of serious conflagration.
Petitioners cited the promotion of a former military aide to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua which they said is causing disaffection within the Army.
They said: “Entrenchment of mediocrity and nepotism in the Nigerian Army becomes clearer when we consider the promotion and posting of a Brigadier. This officer was the ADC to the late President Umaru Yar’Adua who was central to the scheme to deploy soldiers in the airport when the late Yar’Adua was flown into the country from Saudi Arabia.
” He did so by disobeying the Chief of Defence Staff, National Security Adviser and the acting President. He prevented Acting President Goodluck Jonathan from functioning until the death of President Yar’Adua.
“Curiously after the death of President Yar ‘Adua, the Brigadier’s colleagues were summarily retired or denied promotions. However, not only was the Brigadier promoted, he has also been elevated above all his seniors
“The question that arises is, what explains the retention and the preferential treatment being given to this Brigadier? One plausible explanation for this elevation of mediocrity is that it is a calculated attempt to achieve a certain sinister or diabolical objective.”
The petitioners also faulted alleged disrespect for the decision of the Army Council on retirement of officers, saying: “The pursuit of General Ihejirika’s agenda also manifested itself clearly in his disregard for decisions of the Army Council. The Army Council approved the retirement of 11 Major Generals, but General Ihejirika retired 12. Similarly, 26 Brigadiers were retired instead 25 approved by the Council, while 13 Colonels were retired instead of the 12 approved.
“It should be mentioned that many Igbo officers who have an age problem were not presented with letters of retirement unlike others who have since been eased out without a chance to progress. A case in mind is that of a Brigadier General from Bauchi who was never presented to any promotion board since he was promoted in 2008. Nefariously, the officer was blocked from being presented three times so that age would catch up with him.”
On the recruitment into the Nigerian Army Depot, the petitioners queried why the South East was more favoured than the other five geo-political zones.
One of the petitions added: “This attempt to Igbonise the Nigerian Army becomes clearer when we look at the pattern of recruitment of soldiers into the Nigerian Army Depot, Zaria under General Ihejirika.
“There has been a massive recruitment of soldiers from his ethnic group to the disadvantage of others.
“For example, Abia State, the home state of General Ihejirika, with a population of only 2.8 million, has so far had the largest share of recruits, 450, far above Kano with a population of 9.3 million, Lagos with a population of just over 9 million and Kaduna with a population of just over 9 million. These states have so far had 259, 255 and 382 recruits respectively.
“The case of Ebonyi is also symptomatic of this glaring lopsidedness in the recruitment figures. Thus although 377 were recruited from Ebonyi with a population of just 2.2 million, Oyo State with a population of 5.6 million had only 282; Katsina with a population of 5.8 million had only 248; Lagos State with a population of just over 9 million had only 255 and only 271 was recruited from Plateau State with a population of of 3.2 million.
“When the same table is analysed on zonal basis, General Ihejirika’s bias in favour of his zone also becomes patently clear. The South East geo-political zone with a population of 16.3 million has so far had the highest recruits – 1925. The North West, which is the largest geo-political zone with a population of 35.8 million, double that of South East, has only 1949 recruits.
“Similarly, the South West geo-political zone with a population of 27.6 million, has only 1561 recruits. Thousands of qualified recruits from these states have had their applications turned down by a kangaroo selection group set up by General Ihejirika.”
The petitioners pleaded with the President and the National Assembly to check the challenge in the Army.
The petition said: “The President, the National Assembly, the Minister of Defence and the National Security Adviser should know that the actions and inactions of General Ihejirika portend great danger for the Army and the country at large.
“A disgruntled officer corps is a recipe for disaster. It means the Army will lack unity, cohesion and purpose. It will be pre- occupied with fighting itself, as our terrible experiences of 1966 -67 showed.
“President Jonathan needs to act and act now. He must not allow himself to be a pawn in a grand design to destroy his government by brewing the kind of discontent within the Nigerian Armed Forces which could become contagious and eventually engulf the entire society?”
A Senator, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have received some of these petitions, and we are looking into them. It borders on security matter; that is why we are quietly treating issues in these petitions.
“We will demand statistics and records from the Chief of Army Staff. But issues surrounding these petitions might be addressed with the Army leadership behind closed doors. We do not want any action which could aggravate the current security challenges facing the nation.”
The outgoing Director of Army Public Relations, Major General Bolaji Koleosho, who has been redeployed as the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, could not be reached for comments.
Repeated calls to his mobile telephone lines indicated that his lines had been switched off. Sources at the Army Headquarters told our correspondent that he travelled out of his duty post.
Brigadier General Ibrahimn Attahiru who, replaces Koleoso as Army spokesman, is expected to assume responsibilities on Monday after the official hand-over ceremony.