Apathy in South East as search for new COAS hots up

*Asking Buhari to appoint from zone waste of time – HURIWA

*No need for expectations – Ohanaeze
  • ACF urges Buhari to pick the best

By Our Reporters

As President Muhammadu Buhari kitchen cabinet intensifies search for a capable replacement of the late Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, stakeholders from the South-east have said that the zone is not expecting that the president may look its way in filling the unfortunate vacuum because of his continuous marginalization of the zone.
Speaking with the national coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Mr Emmanuel Onwubiko, on the expectations of the South-east zone in the replacement of the late COAS who died in an air crash last weekend in Kaduna, he opined that he would not be surprised if President Buhari did not use the unfortunate incident to bring the zone into the security management of the country.
The human rights activist anchored his argument on the over five years clamour by the South-east to have a voice in the security sector of the country which the president has not considered, wondering if that can be possible at the twilight of his administration.
He, however, conceded the fact that appointment into offices is the exclusive of the president and he appoints whosoever he pleases provided the person is qualified.
Regardless that the South-east also has some army officers that are also qualified to be appointed into the position, Onwubiko sees the appointment of a new COAS at this point in time as a herculean task that the president has to handle with extra care.

Similarly, the chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the Federal Capital Territory, Barrister Arua O. Arua yesterday, said the zone had no need to agitate, urge or expect that the president would consider picking the new COAS from the South-east.
He argued that the zone was not considered in other security appointments that are not as sensitive as that of the COAS wondering how that can be possible given the state of the nation now.
However, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged President Buhari to pick the best replacement so that the campaign against insurgency can be sustained.
The ACF, in a statement signed by its chairperson, Audu Ogbeh, said it “prays that our Lord God grants our President the wisdom to select suitable replacements for the heroes departed, particularly for the Chief of Army Staff.”
The ACF said the security situation in Nigeria “calls for the best, nothing but the best.”

South-east topmost Army officers may be side lined

The opportunity of the South-east zone to produce a member of the Service Chiefs may suffer a setback as the Presidency may have decided to choose the new Chief of Army Staff from the North by sacrificing about 20 Generals including the highest ranking officer from the South East.
The zone has Major General Ben Ahanotu of Regular Course 35, who is the current Chief of Policy and Plan, Nigeria Army, as a top contender to the post of Chief of Army Staff. But with the death of the Chief of Army Staff Ibrahim Attahiru on Friday, unconfirmed reports have claimed that Major General Danjuma Ali-Keffi, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kaduna, may be appointed.
According to General Ali-Keffi was not among the most senior military officers in the operation of the Nigerian Army. He was only appointed a GOC only in March 2021.
In fact, he has more than 30 senior major generals above him in seniority amongst whom is Major General Ben Ahanotu from South East being the most qualified.

“The consequence of this if it is true, is that it will force these brilliant officers to retire at a period we need more hands in the prosecution of diverse operations across the country. I don’t think we need such mass retirement now,” a security expert opined.

However, a top military officer told that several factors are considered for the appointment of service chiefs beyond seniority.

“You know the President has the discretion to appoint anyone he so wishes with advice or probably a nomination from the Minister of Defence.

“Apart from Seniority in service, officers so considered must have been grounded in military operations and intelligence,” the officer said.
Major General Ben Ahanotu is from Anambra State and very fluent in Hausa language. He was the Commander of the Military Operation that captured the founder of Boko Haram Mohammed Yusuf and his followers at their hideout in Maiduguri in 2009 before handing them over to the Police.

ACF prays for Buhari to select best replacement

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has prayed for wisdom as President Muhammadu Buhari selects a new Chief of Army Staff to replace Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a plane crash in Kaduna on Friday.
The northern Nigerian socio-political organisation stated this in a condolence message to the president over the death of Mr Attahiru and 10 other military officers who died in the accident.
The ACF, in a statement signed by its chairperson, Audu Ogbeh, said it “prays that our Lord God grants our President the wisdom to select suitable replacements for the heroes departed, particularly for the Chief of Army Staff.”
The ACF said the security situation in Nigeria “calls for the best, nothing but the best.”

The association recalled that the president only recently appointed Mr Attahiru and other service chiefs to lead the fight against insurgency and other forms of threats to Nigeria’s national security.

It said Nigerians were just beginning to appreciate Mr Attahiru’s approach to tackling the country’s multiple security challenges when the news of his tragic death hit them.

The ACF said the death of the gallant officers on active service came as tragic news to all members of the forum.

“We condole with members of their families in this their hour of distress and emotional trauma. Only God can alleviate the pains they are facing now.

“On behalf of the Arewa Consultative Forum, I wish to condole with the President, Commander – in – Chief over the tragic death of the Chief of Army Staff General Ibrahim Attahiru and ten others in an air crash
“We have since then been praying at the ACF that God will grant the President, the army high command, the rank and file, the fortitude to bear this tragic loss.

“We similarly pray for the other gallant members of the armed forces who lost their lives,” the statement said.

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