– Make appeal for Igbo’s inclusion in security apparatus
By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Coalition of Nigeria Professionals for Peace and Good Governance (CNPPGG), has commended President Muhammadu Buhari, over his choice of Service Chiefs, saying the team was better positioned to achieving the mandate of securing lives and property.
The Coalition in a statement said the appointment of Major-General Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), will facilitate better coordination of the Service Chiefs, considering his operational and command capabilities that had wo him many military laurels in the past.
In a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Prof. Abiola Odukoya, National Secretary, Dr. Andy Ifeanyi and National Programme Officer, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Kankara, CNPPGG said General Irabor is well tested having commanded Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) in the North East, as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
“It was just a matter of time, and the ravaging insurgency will be a thing of the past,” the coalition said.
CNPPGG aligned with apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and appealed to the President to consider the appointment of someone from South East as a Service Chief.
The group said a review of the appointment process will be just and proper.
They also tasked Senators and House of Representatives’ members on the urgent need to invoke the federal character principle during the screening and confirmation of the Service Chiefs.
They contended that, as Representatives of the over 200 million Nigerians, posterity will definitely be kind to them, if they drew President Buhari’s attention to the fact that a major ethnic bloc had remained consistently shot out in the Service and security Chiefs’ equation.
They argued further that it was not in the interest of national unity and co-habitation for the Igbo nation not to be represented in sensitive military, security and para-military appointments since May 29, 2015 when President Buhari was sworn-in for his first term of office.
“We hasten to commend our amiable and progressive President, Muhammadu Buhari, for the careful selection and eventual appointment of the new set of Service Chiefs, who are coming at a time the security situation in the country is alarming.
“As professionals in our various fields of endeavours, we note with satisfaction, the choice of Major General Lucky Irabor, to lead the Service Chiefs in his capacity as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
“We are confident that General Irabor, having been commander, Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), as well as commander of the multinational joint task force (MNJTF) – all within the troubled North East general area – knows where to hit the terrorist elements the hardest”, the professionals said in the statement.
They said “Considering our pan-Nigerian outlook, we are inclined to the appeal by South East stakeholders, led by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, for the review of the less- than-a-month-old appointment of Service Chiefs.
“President Buhari will earn himself a prominent place in history, if he gave a passionate thought to the calls for the inclusion of a senior Igbo officer in the team, which we hope will deliver the goods.
“He must resist ill-advice from certain mischievous individuals and groups, who often cast the Igbo nation in bad light, leading systematic exclusion which, to all intent and purpose, is unacceptable.
“In the event that our dear President remains adamant, we invite our Senators and Representatives to note this anomaly, and insist on its correction, before screening and confirmation actions are taken on the list of Service Chiefs forwarded for that purpose.
“As representatives of the people, they must, at all material times, uphold the sanctity of federal character principle, which invokes proportional representation in public governance process.
“While appreciating the fact that all ethnic groups cannot be appointed at the same time, we remind the President that among the comity of major ones, only Igbo has failed to gain his favour.”
The group further stated that they believe that there are also competent senior officers from the South East who can do very well as service chiefs.