BY COSMAS EKPUNOBI
Certainly this is not the best of times for the Chief of Defence Staff Maj.-Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin and his service Chiefs at-least going by the mild drama that played out on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday. Senators in a resolution that may have again jolted the presidency vowed not to have any business with the current Service Chiefs . The 9th Senate had twice passed a resolution asking president Muhammadu Buhari to sack his service Chiefs and twice the president and Commander in Chief ignored the nations apex lawmaking body.
The decision of the senators on tuesday to ignore (summon )the service Chiefs forthwith was the climax of the perceived ding dong game between the Senate and the presidency.
The service chiefs may have lost count of the number of times they have been summoned by either the Senate or House of Representatives over the endless killings especially in the North
The stunned lawmakers at such interactive session also starred at the faces of the service Chiefs as if the solution to the growing insecurity in our land was in their hands.
The senators like many other Nigerians only wanted specific assurances from the service Chiefs on when and how to completely end the mindless killings in the north . The Senate had told every ear that care to listen that it was ready to allocate more funds to the military to fight insurgents if indeed cash was the problem.
But the service Chiefs at the reported many session only mesmerised the helpless lawmakers with security jargons and in most times evaded some key questions fired at them by the lawmakers who only wanted immediate end to the killings and not rythorics.
Some of them were said to have left the venue of such interactive session with the service Chiefs more confused and angry.
It was this same search for immediate solution to the growing insecurity that accounted for the many and seemingly fruitless interface between the Senate and the service Chiefs.
Temper however rosed at the last session with the service Chiefs as the Senate in rare show of bravery passed a resolution asking president Muhammadu Buhari to rejig his security architecture.
The Senate at the tension soaked session specifically asked Buhari to sack his service Chiefs and replace them with much more younger men.
Senate in its wisdom ruled that the Chief of Army Staf Major Gen Tukur Buratai , the Chief of Naval staf Rear Admiral IbokEte Ekwe Ibas , his Air counter part Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar , the Inspector General of Police ( IGP) Mallam Adamu should be replaced forthwith in order to inject new blood into the handling of the fast deteriorating security situation in the land.
Twice the resolution was passed by the Senate twice President Buhari ignored the 9th National Assembly.
Recall that the Senator Bukola Saraki led 8th Senate had passed similar resolution asking the president to sack the service Chiefs if he must reorder the nations security architecture for more effrctive operations.
The president also ignored Saraki and his 8th Senate. Some of the Buhari men then saw such resolution as one of the undercover attempts by Saraki and his perceived PDP loyalists to ridicule the president.
Surprisingly, the 9th Senate under the presidents preferred leadership resurrected the same resolution asking the president to do away with his much cherished Service Chiefs.
House of Representatives also passed similar resolution, the same with other prominent Nigerians asking him to replace the service chiefs . But the president appears not ready to listen to anybody on this.
The service chiefs as presently constituted are so important to the president and nothing for now will force him to change them even their tenure were said to have expired.
The tenure were said to have expired even two years ago , but the president reappointed them.
Fresh trouble however started on Tuesday on the floor of the Senate as the lawmakers turned down another motion asking it to summon the service chiefs over the abduction of over 334 students of secindary school in Katsins , home state of president Buhari
The senators threatened to launch a big show down with Buhari if he fail to a dress the rising insecurity in the land within a reasonable time . The Senate vowed not to have any business with the current service Chiefs even as some aggrieved lawmakers asked Senate to dump the 2031 budget in protest of Buhari refusal to implements it’s decision asking him to sack the service Chiefs
This followed a motion by Senator Bello Mandiya from Katsina South Senatorial District on the abduction of about 330 students of a secondary school in the state, which Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for.
The senate in a rare show of bravery unanimously resolved not to have anything to do with the nation’s service chiefs any longer; hence they dropped their earlier decision to summon the defence minister, military generals and the heads of the security agencies in the country.
Instead the Senate urged Buhari to consider and implement the recommendations of the Senate ad hoc Committee on Nigeria’s security challenges and the Senate resolutions as a holistic response to the mounting security challenges across the country.
The Chairman of the Senate Public Accounts Committee, Mathew Urhoghide, lamented that National Assembly had exhausted all avenues to make Buhari tackle insecurity.
Urhoghide said, “We stood up here to say that the service chiefs should be changed. The more you say, the more annoying it is to the President and he will never change.
“Therefore Mr President please, the President must be compelled to act on Senate resolutions, I am not saying that the President should be impeached; no, it would be premature, but let us compel him to sit up and obey our resolutions.
“The President has no respect for the National Assembly, our resolutions are not being respected.”
A former Senate Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi, also said it was glaring that the President did not need the legislative arm of government.
He said, “I don’t believe that I am part of the problem. The presidency is not an award; it is a call to duty.
“When you call a man to duty He must be able to know when the bulk stops on his table.
“Right now the bulk stops on the President’s table as far as security in this country is concerned.
“The worst part of the situation is that he is talking to us as if we are talking rubbish.
“We have many resolutions of this Senate , none of them has been implemented, even the resolution on #EndSARS none has been taken.”
Senator Sani Musa said, “There is need to draw the attention of the President that enough is enough; the service chiefs should go.
“I wish the National Assembly will take a drastic action on this. We have the power to appropriate.
Senator James Manager said, “Let the public be aware that we have done all that is there to be done
“We have handed necessary resolutions for the executive to implement, not one item has been implemented and we are talking about and we are inviting the service chiefs; for what?”
Senator Gabriel Suswam said, “There’s nothing more important for government to do than securing the lives of citizens of this country, and at all times.”
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, urged his colleagues not to despair but continue to speak out.
The big question now is would this new posture force Buhari to lay off his much cherished service Chiefs . Time will tell .