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Posts tagged ‘Doyin Okupe’

Few Hours After Nigerian Government Claims It Was Winning The War Against Terrorism, Islamist Militants Boko Haram Attack Bama Again.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

Few hours after an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide boasted that Nigerian military is better equipped and motivated to fight Boko Haram militants, the sect has launched another brazen attack on Bama township killing several people.

Dr. Doyin  Okupe was countering the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, that the militant were having the upper hand in decimating towns and villages in the northeast region.

Although details are still sketchy credible military sources confirmed the attacks and that hundreds of residents are presently fleeing the town after the sect launched an attack around 3 AM. The sect had been attacking villages and towns in Borno and Adamawa states despite the state of emergency declared by President Jonathan.

Okupe had on Tuesday while disagreeing with Gov. Shettima’s outcry that Boko Haram were better armed and motivated than the Nigerian military.

After leaving a meeting with President Jonathan in Abuja yesterday, Governor Shettima spoke frankly to state house reporters dismissing the fact that the military was winning the war against Boko Haram.

A Diet Of Denials By Sonala Olumhense.


 

Columnist: 

 Sonala Olumhense

President Goodluck Jonathan was in Yola last Tuesday to commission the Air Force Comprehensive Secondary School.  

Before the visit was over, new presidential controversies were ignited.  The first concerned accredited journalists who were threatened with bodily harm, and molested and thrown out of the venue.

Stunned that the reporters were questioning an instruction to leave, presidential aide, Emmanuel C. Anita, unimpressed by the clutch of reporters, explained it to them: “You people are simply not invited for this occasion; do you want me to call my men to beat you up?”

That was inside.

Outside, the streets of the Adamawa State capital went dead: businesses and streets closed by a government terrified for itself by the Boko Haram menace.  Businesses and neighborhoods, uncertain as to whether the militants or the government was the bigger menace, went on an imposed closure.  

Earlier, a spokesman for the 23rd Brigade based in Yola, had announced that all of the city’s major roads would be closed as long as Jonathan’s very important feet were on the ground.  By one published account, things got so bad that market women protested half-naked on Mohammed Mustafa Way, condemning the President for squandering public funds to inflict further economic hardship on Yola.

“I’m shocked by this kind of attitude by the soldiers,” one woman told reporters as they challenged Jonathan to resign if he did not trust those who voted him into power.  “They cannot fight Boko Haram; it is us harmless civilians that have become their target. They should face Boko Haram and leave us alone to continue with our suffering that the PDP government is inflicting on Nigerians.”

Said another, “Even during the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s dark days there was nothing like this, but in a democratic government our President we laboured for to win an election is today denying us our daily bread.”

But Mr. Jonathan had very important things to say as he commissioned an institution for 50 students, and the soldiers simply wanted to make sure he was interrupted neither by pesky journalists nor by hungry citizens. 

Worse was to follow as Mr. Jonathan suggested he had relieved top military service chiefs of their responsibilities recently because of unnecessary rivalry between them. 

“I urge you to cooperate, but sometimes you hear of unhealthy rivalry amongst service chiefs and personnel,” AllAfrica.com quoted him as telling members of the armed forces at the occasion.  “This will no longer be tolerated, as any unnecessary competition that will not bring progression to this country, so I charge you to work together.”

Daily Trust quoted him as saying.  “I urge you to cooperate, sometimes in the recent past you hear of some kind rival competition among service chiefs, or security personnel, but this time around we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition, that will lead to friction in this country.”

According to Vanguard, President Jonathan said he sacked the immediate past service chiefs because of unhealthy competition which made it possible for Boko Haram insurgents to attack the Air Force operational base in Maiduguri…[that] the terrorists destroyed fighter aircraft during the attack and went scot free because of the rivalry between the former service chiefs.

“I urge you all to cooperate because in recent times some mutual cooperation among the service chiefs and personnel have been lacking. This time around, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition that would be retrogressive to this country.  We charge you to work together and I believe that we would no longer experience any unpleasant situation we had in the past because of some obvious lapses.”

According to The Guardian, Jonathan warned that the rivalry among the services would no longer be tolerated, and that the insurgency would be better tackled with synergy among the service chiefs.  “I urge you all to cooperate…there has been some mutual competition among the service chiefs and personnel, this time around, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition…We charge you to work together… and believe that we would no longer experience any unpleasant situation we had in the past because of some obvious lapses.”

According to the Nigerian Tribune, President Jonathan said, “…This time round, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition that will bring retrogression to the country…We charge you to work together because our country is exposed to cancer and I told the former chief of defence staff when I came back from a meeting in France, that was the time they attacked our five helicopters and a journalist asked me, ‘Mr President is it not shameful?’ And I asked him, If you were me, how would you have felt? And I believed we will no longer experience that kind of situation. That happened because of some obvious lapses.”

According to the Daily Sun, the President disclosed that …unnecessary rivalry among security agencies in the country and security lapses contributed to the successful attacks carried out on five helicopters by the terrorists…He warned the newly appointed service chiefs against embarking on unnecessary competition among themselves, urging them to work together and complement each other in the interest of the nation.

Those accounts of Mr. Jonathan’s visit were followed on Thursday by a robust rebuttal by his spokesman, Reuben Abati, who dismissed them as “untrue and misleading.”

He carpeted “sections of the media” for mischief and reckless sensationalism, saying they had deliberately chosen to misrepresent the President’s innocuous and clear call for greater synergy and inter-service cooperation in the war against terrorism.

According to him, President Jonathan did not in Yola say the former chiefs were guilty of undue rivalry or that such unhealthy rivalry was responsible for recent security breaches in Adamawa and other parts of the country.

“As Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces and Chief Security Officer of the Federation, President Jonathan is fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of all defence and security-related matters,” Abati defended.  “If he had any reprimand or admonition for the former service chiefs, which he does not, he would not have cavalierly given it at a public function as the media falsely reported.”

The man fights the wrong war.  It is a shame that in a democracy, his professional constituency is sadly disrespected by ordinary soldiers in a public event despite his presence at the scene of the crime but his only comment is to continue the normal regime of denials following another Jonathan gaffe.  Evidently, the presidency’s communication strategy, if there were ever one, has collapsed. 

What is worse is the incoherence in the government.  In Yola, it seems Mr. Jonathan again struggled through some impromptu remarks.  In the absence of a written speech, an experienced information manager ought to provide a quick and official readout of his principal’s remarks.  The reporter is not bound to use it, especially where he has his own professional record, but then there are always journalists who were not there, or who may closer friends with the government.

Finally, there is also something that some public speakers overlook: You do not have to be an orator to be an effective speaker. 

But you have to know your subject, and to stick to your comfort zone or prepared material.  Jonathan’s nightmare is that he often lacks command of his subject, leaving the listener with dangerous errors and ambiguity.  Then the doctor blames the patient for the wrong prescription he provided.

 

  • Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Jonathan begs Senators, Reps to pass 2014 budget.


APC vs PDP

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday appealed to members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the 2014 Appropriation Bill in order to enable his administration to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
 Jonathan made the appeal during a stakeholders’ forum of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.When the debate on the bill entered the second day in the Senate on Wednesday, some Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress senators had described the document as anti-people.They chided the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the way the bill was packaged and therefore called for its review.It will be recalled that the APC had last week directed its members in the National Assembly to block the passage of the bill and the screening of ministerial nominees as well as the Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs.The CDS and the service chiefs were however cleared on Thursday by the upper arm of the National Assembly.Jonathan, who was represented at the SURE-P stakeholders forum by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, told the Chairman of the Senate Committee on SURE-P, to carry out the assignment of pleading with his colleagues on his behalf.“Let me appeal to Senator Ningi who chairs the Senate committee on SURE-P to please help urge his colleagues in the National Assembly to expedite consideration of the 2014 budget which is currently before them in order for us to continue to deliver dividends of democracy to our people,” he said.He reiterated his administration’s determination to continue to improve on the country’s infrastructural needs.While saying that the SURE-P had since its inception in 2012 become a critical unit of his administration’s transformation agenda, the President disclosed that over 190,000 youths had so far been employed in various categories.He said that the programme had also intervened massively in railway, road construction and health sectors.The Director-General of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, put the Federal Government’s share of the SURE-P’s fund at N180bn per annum.Earlier, Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State, had thanked the Federal Government for introducing SURE-P, saying its footprints were all over the place in many parts of the country.Wada said, “In Kogi State, our first focus was on youth employment and empowerment. The first

target was school dropouts. So far, we have trained about 6,000 youths.“We started with 500 youths per quarter who were trained at the NYSC orientation camp. They were taught various types of orientation. We have also used the fund for rural roads.”The governor however appealed for an increase in the amount accruable to states under the programme.The acting Chairman of SURE-P, Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai, agreed that there were challenges in the implementation of the SURE-P’s programmes.Agwai explained that the forum was organised to review past operations to assist the programme achieve its mandate.Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Thursday blamed its failure to debate the 2014 budget this week on the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.It said much of the week was devoted to voting on 19 new clauses proposed by the House to be added to the constitution.The spokesman for the House, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, said, “We said last week that the budget debate would be on this week.“There was an adjustment because we now took the constitution first; all of Thursday was used to vote on the new clauses.Mohammed dismissed speculations that tension between PDP and APC lawmakers over the control of the House leadership was responsible for their failure to debate the budget.He said, “I have heard people say we didn’t treat the budget because of disagreement between parties in the House.“No, it was the constitution that delayed it; now that we have concluded voting today(Thursday), the budget will be up next week.”The Speaker of the House, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, had during plenary announced that the debate on the general principles of the N4.6tn budget would start on Tuesday next week.

Source: Radio Biafra.

A Failed Ruling Class And The Litany Of Impunity: From Taraba Through NNPC To Rivers And Beyond By Jaye Gaskia.


By Jaye Gaskia

Sometimes when pummeled by the storms of our vicarious existence, i often take some steps back to reflect. And in those moments of reflection, I do wonder whether any of the actions we are taking is worthwhile, whether our actions, collective and individual do make any difference.

At such times, i am persuaded to ask the other question, and to wonder, what would our collective existence have been like without those actions that we have taken all through the tortuous contours of our collective history? On the balance i am however convinced that as close to the hedge of destruction as our clueless, myopic, greedy, gluttonous, light fingered and pillaging treasury looting ruling elite class have managed to push our nation; as devastating as the impact of their collective misrule has been on our collective existence; our fate would have been far much worse, and perhaps, there would not still have been a nation, without our collective resistance all through the years, without the anti-military struggle, without the June twelve struggle, without the January Uprising of 2012 for instance.

So like i have had the occasion to say to people in recent past, this nation, this country, this valiant peoples of Nigeria, have survived and kept the very fabric of our common patrimony together, inspite of, rather than because of this bungling thieving ruling class.

If you take a cursory look at our historical experience since colonial times, why is it that every succeeding generation looks back on the past with fondness? Why does the immediate past always seem to better than the present? And why does it always seem to us that we were better off under previous regimes than we are under current ones? Could it be because in truth and of a fact there has been a progressive decline in the quality of leadership over the years, a progressive decline in the quality, competence, integrity, and patriotism of the ruling class over the years and decades? This definitely does seem to be the case.

On the strength of this trend, it is little wonder that this regime, this current ruling political class, in power and in opposition, represent the lowest that we have sunk as a nation and people. It is perhaps the reason why we have witnessed the least governance since the amalgamation of 1914; and why we are witnessing the crassest opportunism, as well as the steepest rise in the intensity of treasury looting and pillage of our commonwealth. It is the reason why they not only trample on the constitution which they made for us, but also ride rough shod over ordinary citizens.

The Nigerian ruling class has historically not been a stranger to impunity in governance; nevertheless, past generations of this ruling class will cringe in their graves at the level of the impunity of their heirs, the current class of Vagabonds In Power [VIPs].

Let us take a roll call of the long list of the perfidious indiscretions of their looting infested reign over us. A constitutional breach of the highest order which they unconscionably piloted when they so inhumanely chose to play chess with the ill health of a severely sick and dying president; they are now playing out in a full blown tragicomedy in Taraba state with the ill health of another severely incapacitated governor. These vultures and coyotes, these hyenas and maggots, who survive only by scavenging on the dead, will do anything possible to push the ailing Taraba state governor to his death bed, because of their own selfish interests, just as the kitchen cabinet around the ailing president did to the late President Yar Adua.

During that period as well as in the current case, all manner of self interested liars, including leading politicians and leading clerics who called themselves men and servants of God, all trooped to visit the ailing President and Governor, and all claimed and swore by their Holy Books, lying through the skin of their colored teeth that all was well, and the subjects of their nocturnal visits were hale and hearty, as well as fit as a fiddle to govern!

In the case of the late President, as in the case of the ailing governor, the very few who had some access, and who because of that access knew the truth, and refused to tell lies, were and are being subtly discredited. Yet determining the truth should be really very simple. The NMA has offered to undertake an independent assessment of the ailing governor; but the pack of scavengers around him will not let this happen.

Apart from the sickening way they are playing political chess games with the lives of their fellow politicians, and leaders; what is even more significant for us about these games is the fact they these political gladiators are wilfully breaching and violating the provisions of the constitution which they had sworn to uphold.

So why should any of these matter to us all? Well, let us be clear that there is a clear connection between this blatant disregard for the constitution, and for human life, and the anarchy that is being orchestrated in Rivers state, where a serving Police Commissioner, who ought to be a member of the state security council is being used by external forces, to undermine not only the person of the governor of Rivers state, despicable as he might personally be, but also the institutions of the state in Rivers State. So a police commissioner in a civilian dispensation, would disperse a state legislature, and block the routes of the state governor, while openly defying a sitting state governor! And there are still some who think what is at stake is the individual fate of Amaechi, or of Wike, or of the President or the First Lady? On the contrary what is at stake is constitutionalism, rule of law, and yes, the very stability of the country. We may like to think that these arsonists are merely trying to set themselves ablaze; well, that is surely right; but they are setting themselves ablaze on our roof top. And this should matter to us.

Furthermore, we insist that there is a connection between this impunity being orchestrated at the very summit of power in these two instances of Taraba and Rivers, as well as the impunity being perpetrated the the smaller minions in the MDAs. It is why more than half of MDAs do not remit their revenues to the federation account in clear breach of the constitution; it is why the NNPC under the supervision of the Petroleum Minister will not remit trillions of Naira to the federation account; it is why the Aviation Minister will single handedly authorise variations in the ministries budget for vehicles from N240m to over N600m, while spending N255m of that on just two armoured BMWs! It is why although both ministers have been severally indicted by different probe panels, both are still firmly entrenched in the cabinet. And what is more it is why crude oil theft soared from less than 100,000 barrels per day barely 3 years ago to the current levels of more than 400,000 barrels per day; and this inspite of the huge annual multi-billion Naira contracts awarded to Ex- Militant Generals for security and surveillance of pipelines and maritime water ways.

The point being made is that the level of impunity among this shameless ruling class has reached such a proportion that it has become mutually reinforcing, as well frustratingly undermining of our national development; socially, politically, constitutionally, and economically. The fact is we cannot condone and applaud impunity in certain aspects of our national life while we seek to expunge it from others. The fact against impunity is total and all embracing.

The real question that is of existential significance hinges around whether or not we can continue to trust this thieving ruling class, or whether we should not all together take a deep collective breath, and undertake the necessary collective effort to heave them off our backs for good.

Follow me on Twitter: @jayegaskia & @[DPSR]protesttopower; Interact with me on FaceBook: Jaye Gaskia & Take Back Nigeria:

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Anti-Amaechi protesters shut Port Harcourt down.


River-youth-protest-port

Hundreds of protesters from the four-Ikwerre speaking council areas of Rivers State, on Tuesday, took over the busy Port Harcourt-Aba Road in Port Harcourt, expressing solidarity for the state Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu.
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They disrupted traffic flow on the road and caused panic in surrounding areas.

Following the protest, the Rivers State government has accused those it described as Federal Government agents as the sponsors of the protest, adding that the state had been subjected to war by the Federal Government.

The protesters, under the aegis of Ikwerre Peoples Assembly (IPA), took over the GRA Junction point of the highway, vowing to shut public and multinational facilities down should the commissioner of police be transferred out of the state.

 

The protest, which lasted about one hour, had a full police cover.

The protesters described Mbu in glowing terms, adding that his problem with the state government was his refusal to be used against those opposed to the governor.

The spokesman of the group, Chima Boms, who was also the counsel to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by the late Justice Kayode Eso (JSC), also said Mbu had performed creditably well in the state.

According to Boms, “CP Mbu, in our estimation, has performed creditably well and deserves commendation. We, therefore, request that he continues to serve in Rivers State for the good of the people. Consequently, the Ikwerre Peoples’ Assembly will resist any attempt to redeploy CP Mbu as commissioner of police in Rivers State as such move will take us back to the dark era.”

Meanwhile, the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, who was shot with a rubber bullet by the police at a Save Rivers Movement (SRM) rally in Port Harcourt over a week ago, has finally broken his silence.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Senator Abe expressed gratitude to friends, well-meaning individuals, groups and indeed, Nigerians, for their prayers, phone calls, solidarity messages and support, and prayed God to protect them at these dangerous times.

He condemned Sunday’s attack on supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Bori.

In a related development, pposition All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, alleged that supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan are importing ex-militants from Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom States to cause mayhem in Rivers State.

A statement by its spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, warned that supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi might resort to self-help since Police are allegedly backing the other faction.

Warning of impending bloodbath, the party said, ”Having lost confidence in the ability of the police to protect them and keenly aware of the President’s deliberate refusal to allow peace to reign in their state, the patience of the people of Rivers is wearing thin, and there is an increasing possibility that they may resort to self help, which can only result in a blood-bath.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Expensive leaders, poor economy.


 

President -Jonathan-FEC

The hope of better life for Nigerians after long era of terrible military rule, which culminated eventually into democracy in 1999, seemed dashed with emergence of profligate politicians and flamboyant public office holders who have only succeeded in pauperising the citizenry and deepening poverty in the country amidst stupendous national wealth.
With the coming of democratic dispensation, it was like starting over again for a country brimming with immense talent and potentials that turned into a synonym for everything dirty-corruption at all levels (monumental and petty), human rights abuses, drug peddling, fraudulent practices, immorality, environmental degradation, educational collapse, electoral sham, massive unemployment, power and water outages, hunger and homelessness.

 

Public officials steal and squander hundreds of billions of naira earned from huge production of oil and gas resources with reckless abandon. Nigeria has experienced three distinct leaderships under one political party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the last fourteen years.

From Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler who kick-started democracy, becoming President of Nigeria for eight years, to President Goodluck Jonathan took over after the death of President Musa Yar’Adua, and was re-elected as President in 2011; the squander and misuse of public funds has conitnued unabated even getting more scientific than ever before.

Addressing Nigeria’s socio-economic and political problems had been an uphill task for all the leaders since 1999. But the most traumatic is the Goodluck Jonathan presidency which was compounded by Boko Haram insurgency in which over 20,000 people have died so far including security operatives.

At present, the country’s entire economy revolves around oil with large reserves, which implies that Nigeria has the potentials of a very prosperous economy. In fact, oil accounts for nearly 90 per cent of her revenue, yet, the wealth from oil has not positively impacted on the economy as poverty is still endemic in the country.

Rather what continued to stare us on our faces is devastating lavish lifestyle of leaders from the presidency to ministers, governors, commissioners, local government chairmen, councillors, permanent secretaries, heads of parastatals, directors, board members and so on. However, the most disgusting is the extravagant salaries and allowances earned by members of the National Assembly – Senators and Representatives running into billions of naira every year, while millions of Nigerians are hungry, jobless and virtually homeless.

The executive, legislature and judiciary seemed to have connived in ripping off the people. In other words, the government has continuously shown that the interest of the larger Nigerian population is not its priority.

For instance, the sum of N150 billion is being allocated to the National Assembly as annual budget in which senators received quarterly pay of about N50 million each and House of Representatives members about N40 million each every quarter in addition to multi-million naira constituency projects allowances not accounted for. Also, members of State Houses of Assembly go home monthly with millions of naira.

Ministers and commissioners are paid millions of naira including all sorts of allowances beyond the imagination of the toiling masses whose minimum pay had been fixed at a paltry sum of N18,000 monthly which many states even refused to pay. Yet, state governors get billions of naira as security votes which ended up in private pockets.

Two years ago, N18 billion was budgeted for the maintenance of presidential fleet of planes, while N1.9 billion was set aside for the purchase of an additional aircraft for the President. Before then, it was announced that the presidential fleet was to be upgraded with planes costing N31.5 billion. It should be noted that wealthy nations like Britain have no presidential fleet as the Prime Minister David Cameron travels by the national carrier. The Chinese President also travels by the country’s national airline.

Only recently, the Federal Government approved N2.2 billion for construction of a banquet hall for Aso Rock Villa which evoked outrage of the citizens. Some years ago, the World Bank grant of $8.64 billion facility for growth and poverty reduction in Nigeria was frittered away, while in 2008, we were told that this country has spent $16 billion to reactivate the power infrastructure.

Corruption affects the way money is allocated within the state budget, diverting expenditures away from less lucrative sectors as health and education to high kickback areas.

Sometime in 2012, an investigation by House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Petroleum Upstream, Downstream and Gas Resources, revealed how NNPC under-remitted a sum of N3.098 trillion to the Federation Account between 2004 and 2011 under the watchful eyes of CBN and NEITI.

Two governors in the South/South reportedly bought jet planes – a Bombardier Global 5000 worth $45.7 million and Gulf Stream Jet which cost $45 million. These planes are believed to be used privately and also for official duties. A governor, piloting a private aircraft crashed and was flown abroad for medical attention and is now no longer fit to resume duties after his return . Several ministers are said to be owning private jets and fleet of exotic cars and mansions.

Maintenance of these private planes could be a constant drain on public treasury which can be used to build and repair roads, improve healthcare, education, provide decent housing, electricity and water.

Also, the Federal Capital Territory Authority, FCTA, will be spending N3billion to build official houses for principal officers of the National Assembly.

About 70 per cent of the country’s income is expended on public officers and politicians who comprise less than 1 per cent of a population of 167 million.

According to the CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi who said recently, “we cannot develop if we continue to have so much of our resources where government is spending 70 per cent of the nation’s revenue on itself and leaving 30 per cent for the people. Is that a sensible situation?” Ironically, the CBN budgets N300 billion lacking oversight duties of the legislature needed to ensure transparency and accountability.

In 2011, the United Nations Development programme placed Nigeria 156th out of 187 surveyed, saying that Nigeria has been recording constant high economic growth rate that has not produced commensurate employment opportunities and reduction in poverty among citizens.

In 2012, the M.O Ibrahim Index for Africa Governance, ranked Nigeria 43 out of 52 countries assessed. Nigeria’s overall score of 42.0 was no match to African average score of 51.9.

UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Nigeria as the worst place for a baby to be born in 2013. Nigeria is 80th out of 80 countries surveyed. Infant and maternal mortality is among the highest in the world. Expensive and frivolous lifestyle of the leaders that glorify waste and financial recklessness are responsible for the horrible economic situation of the country.

By Emmanuel Edukugho

Source: Radio Biafra.

Why President Jonathan changed military commanders.


 

President-Jonathan-C-I-C

Indications emerged, yesterday, why President Goodluck Jonathan sacked the service chiefs and appointed new ones.

The sack of the service chiefs, Vanguard gathered, was to prevent an implosion in the Armed Forces that was capable of threatening the country’s democracy.Their sack came less than seven months after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, declared the appointments of the Service Chiefs in the country by the President  without recourse to the National Assembly as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, in a statement, said that President  Jonathan “has in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria approved the following changes in the nation’s Military High Command:“Air Marshal Alex Badeh takes over from Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Kenneth Minimah takes over from Lt.-General Azubike Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin takes over from Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu takes over from Air Marshal Badeh as Chief of Air Staff.
According to him, “President Jonathan has briefed the leadership of the National Assembly on the appointment of the new service chiefs and will, in keeping with the provisions of the law, request the National Assembly to formally confirm the appointments when it reconvenes.”Earlier court order on service chiefsIt will be recalled that Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had on June 1, 2013 in his judgment in a suit by Lagos lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo, filed in 2008 challenging the non-confirmation by the Senate of the service chiefs appointed by the President, maintained that it was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void for the President to single-handedly okay persons for appointment as service chiefs.Justice Bello held that Section 18 (1) & (2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, is in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and do not fall within the category of existing laws under Section 315 (2) of the constitution which any sitting President may by an order, modify its text to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the constitution.
Meanwhile, Keyamo said, that he had been “absolutely vindicated.”I’ve been vindicated — KeyamoSpeaking to AFP, he said: “My appeal to all Nigerians is not to be afraid to approach the courts to ventilate your grievance if government has committed any illegality.”Similarly, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, while reacting to the sack of the service chiefs, said it has nothing against President Jonathan’s decision to replace the service chiefs as it was his prerogative to reorganise the nation’s security whenever it was necessary.Secretary-General of the organisation, Dr Joe Nwaorgu, said that only the President could explain the rationale behind the removal of the top military officers and the choice of those officers appointed to take over from them as it is purely a security issue.
One of the removed service chiefs, Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Ihejirika, is from the South East zone.Igbo youths kickBut the Youth Wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo, sees the sack of  Ihejirika, differently, as it condemned same, saying that it was calculated to marginalize Ndigbo in the appointment of new service chiefs. It called on the National Assembly to reject the appointment as it lacked federal character.Also, the Federated Council of Igbo Youths, FCIY, frowned at what it described as a planned attempt to put the Igbo nation in the back seat by the current administration and called on Ndigbo to resist the ongoing alienation of the race.
Reacting to the new appointments, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, wondered why in all the new positions shared, there was no person from the South-East considered worthy by President Jonathan to occupy any of the positions.Why service chiefs were sackedIndications emerged, yesterday that the retirement of the service chiefs was effected by President Jonathan with a view to preventing an implosion in the Armed Forces that was capable of threatening the nation’s democracy.Before now, Admiral O.S. Ibrahim, who was the oldest serving military officer in the land was a Course 17 regular intake of the Nigerian Defence Academy; General Onyeabor Ihejirika was a Course 18 regular intake of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA while Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba was a Course 22 intake of the NDA.Ordinarily, the officers by virtue of their years in service or age, ought to have been retired in consonance with the terms and conditions of service of the armed forces (TACOS), but the challenges brought about by the war on terrorism occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency and President Jonathan’s belief in their capabilities to tame the monster made him sustain the officers in office.However, the sustenance of the very senior officers was causing underground murmuring, disaffection and grumbling among officers because it meant more junior officers, who would have gained promotion or risen to the top echelon of their services may never get there because they would be caught by age on rank or shortage of vacancies for postings, which may lead to early retirement.For instance, while Admiral  Ibrahim was a Course 17 intake, next to him in the Navy, Vice Admiral Ezeoba was a Course 22 intake while their subordinates’ were courses 24 and above with implications that the next looming retirements of officers would have consumed up to Courses 25 and 26, who are the future of the Navy.In the Army, Ihejirika as Course 18 and still serving meant that many of his juniors have gone on retirement and more would still have gone as the army had become top-heavy and there must be weeding out for the triangle to maintain its shape.Need to avert implosionConsequently, an internal explosion was imminent and the question arose, as to whether President Jonathan was unaware of the terms and conditions of service which stipulates 56 years of age and 35 years in service.Moreover, many junior generals, Rear Admirals and Air Vice Marshals were being retired in compliance with the TACOS to the detriment of the armed forces.Vanguard gathered that many of the retiring officers petitioned the National Assembly to bring to the notice of their representatives, the fate that may befall their junior colleagues if nothing was done about the anomaly, though they acknowledged that Jonathan has the prerogative to keep a service chief as long as he wanted.Aside these reasons, Vanguard was told that the President was convinced that the dangers posed by the Boko Haram menace had been sufficiently curtailed by the service chiefs especially with the innovations brought about by Lt. General Ihejirika.Minimah: New Army ChiefRegarding the new appointments, Major General Minimah, who hails from Rivers State and is a Course 24 intake of the NDA, was until his appointment, the Commander, Infantry Corps.He was at several times, Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Sokoto, and General officer Commanding 81 divisions, Lagos. He was redeployed to Jaji as the Commander of Infantry Corps after the unfortunate bombing of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College by Boko Haram terrorists last year. Minimah was born on July 27, 1959.Jibrin: New  Naval Chief
Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin was at the Defence Headquarters before his appointment. He was at several times, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Chief of Logistics at Naval Headquarters and Commandant, Defence Intelligence School. He hails from Kogi State.Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin was born on September 16, 1959 and joined the Navy as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 24 Regular Course.Amosu: New Air Force ChiefAir Vice Marshal Amosu, the new Chief of Air Staff, hails from Lagos State. At several times, he was the Commander, Presidential Air Fleet, Director of Operations at NAF Headquarters and Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, Makurdi.
Air Vice Marshal Amosu was born on August 1, 1958 and joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 25 Regular Course.Badeh: Defence ChiefAir Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh, formerly the Chief of Air Staff and now Chief of Defence Staff, hails from Adamawa state.
Badeh was born on January 10, 1957 and joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s  21 Regular CourseBy KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Tony Edike, Ben Agande & JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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