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Posts tagged ‘Nigerian Armed Forces’

President Jonathan Why I fired service chiefs.


 

 
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President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said that 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.

Jonathan said the terrorists destroyed fighter aircraft during the attack and went scot free because of the rivalry between the former service chiefs.

The service chiefs, who were sacked included the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim; Lt General Azubuike Ihejirika, Chief of Army Staff, COAS, and Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, Chief of Naval Staff.

The President warned that any rivalry among the new service chiefs that threatens national security as was the case in the past, would not be tolerated.

He spoke in Yola at the commissioning of the Nigeria Air Force, NAF, Comprehensive Secondary School. He said a situation where Boko Haram terrorists

succeeded in attacking a military installation because of unhealthy rivalry among the service heads would no longer be accepted.

Emphasizing that the insurgents’ activities and other crimes would be better tackled if the synergy between the services worked for the collective interest of Nigeria, the President said: “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,” he said adding, that the National Assembly along with traditional institutions can form the bedrock on which “we can move our country to the next level.”

Why I appointed Badeh CDS
Jonathan said he appointed Badeh as CDS because he was prudent in the management of resources allocated to the NAF.

He said the National Security Council meeting will hold next week when they would have been cleared by the Senate and the officers decorated with their new ranks.

At the palace of the Lamido of Adamawa, Mustapha Aliyu, Jonathan said that with the appointment of new service chiefs, the tempo of activities against the Boko Haram sect will be increased.

“Let me express our condolences to various families and various people that have lost loved ones in this unnecessary Boko Haram crisis. This thing was alien to us. It was never part of us or our culture. God willing, Nigeria will overcome this challenge,” he said.

He had earlier commended NAF for establishing the school as a foundation for the development of scientific and technological innovation.

“One of the reasons for lifting the CDS from his position as CAS is; I noted carefully that in terms of managing resources, I believe that he tried. I believe that for him taking charge now as CDS, he can work with other colleagues and properly brief them on how to do it, then the Nigerian Armed Forces will be a different Armed Forces,” he added.

Governor Murtala Nyako in his address apologized to President Jonathan for the not-too-impressive welcome accorded him as the streets were deserted, saying it was due to the security situation in the area.

BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI & Ben Agande

Source: Radio Biafra.

Why President Jonathan changed military commanders.


 

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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.

Gov Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State Nigeria’s unity non-negotiable:


 

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has said the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable even as he commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for their defence of democracy. The governor, who stated this yesterday at the grand finale of the Armed Force Remembrance Day celebration in Benin City, said: “Presidents will come and go, governors will come and go, but the Nigeria nation will remain forever. On this occasion, it is important that we pledge our continued commitment to the indivisibility of Nigeria. I am unrepentant in my conviction that the unity of this country is non-negotiable.
“We can talk on how to grow the economy, we can talk on the best time to create jobs, we can lament what we have not done right, but we cannot discuss whether Nigeria is a reality. On this occasion, which coincides with the celebration of Nigeria’s centenary, I think all Nigerians should use this opportunity to recognize that people died to keep Nigeria one.
“I want to acknowledge my appreciation for the support and commitment of our officers and men in uniform. Our officers and men are doing everything possible across the country to ensure that the rest of us are able to sleep with our eyes closed.
“In Edo State, the Armed Forces have been a pillar of support in the provision of security in ensuring that violent criminals are put in check and Edo State is no longer safe for criminals. It is important that on occasions like this, we remember those who have paid the supreme price in Edo State in the cause of combing the bushes and forests and going after those criminals who have tried to make Nigeria ungovernable,” he said.
Oshiomhole said it was appropriate to salute the efforts and commitment of the Nigerian Armed Forces in combating the incidence of terrorism which, five or six years ago, many would have sworn that there would never be such a thing in Nigeria.
“As we speak, many officers and men are engaging terrorists to give them a check and to make Nigeria safe. In the process, many have paid the supreme price. I want to assure officers and men that the people of Edo State recognize your contributions, your defence of democracy. You have become one of the strongest pillars of democracy, subordinating yourself to civil authority.
“In spite of all the weaknesses of the political class, you have remained apolitical and you have put Nigeria over and above any other consideration. By your conduct, by both your officers and men, you have shown that you know the difference between the Nigerian nation and the interest of any political party. It is important to remind ourselves that this country is greater than any individual,” the Governor stated.
In his remarks, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Colonel Osawaru Awanbor (retd) commended the governor, saying: “We the members of the Legion are proud to associate with you, because you are a person who has human feelings.”

Massacre In Ode-Ugborodo Community: The Culpability Of Delta State Government And The Nigerian Navy By Lucky Akaruese.


By Lucky Akaruese

For anyone familiar with the present phase of crises in Ugborodo communities ( riverine communities located at the Escravos estuary of the Atlantic Ocean), one cannot but bewailed, and even amused when watching the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba in the different electronic media (AIT and Channels Television stations) addressing some indigenes of the community in his office in Abuja on Friday 10th January, 2014. From his speech (possibly edited), one can guess with utmost certitude that the Naval boss was addressing representatives of the two warring factions whose irreconcilable differences has dragged the communities constituting Ugborodo into the realm of instability which climaxed into fratricidal massacre  of Sunday, 5th of January, 2014; the very day the Navy moved into the community. It is no longer a secret that the Ugborodo community since 2011 has been enmeshed   in protracted crises over leadership/membership of the Ugborodo Governing Board which is an arm of the registered Ugborodo Trust.

From what one can gather from the speech of Dele Ezeoba, and coupled with the theatrical display of being stoned-face, the whole exercise was nothing short of a showmanship (in military style) put in place to smokescreen the conspiratorial execution of barbarism of extreme, utmost and heartless crudity orchestrated by the institutional duo of the government of Delta State, and the Nigerian Navy. In the speech referred to, Ezeoba blamed members of the two factions laying claim to the leadership of the Governing Board of Ugborodo Trust.  But he never delved into  the inescapable poser on why the said ‘executors’ of the killings had to wait for the very day the Nigerian Navy moved into Ode-Ugborodo community before turning the land into human abattoir, even though the present crises started in 2011.

 

This present crises started in 2011 when two groups emerged to lay claim to the leadership of the Board. The group led by Chief Thomas Ereyitomi (a chief of the Olu of Warri) who had earlier served between 2008-2011 as chairman had his said election/appointment supervised by the Security Adviser to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Retired Rear Admiral KpoKpogiri; while the faction led by  Mr David Tonwe ( a former chairman of the Warri South-West Local Government Council Area) was installed by the Ugborodo Council of Elders. It is on record that it was the same Council of Elders that in 2008 installed Chief Ereyitomi Thomas during his first term in office.

For the 2011 struggle for leadership, reports had it that when Chief Ereyitomi’s first term was coming to an end; and having read the unfriendly ‘body language’ of the Council of Elders including a large section of the  Ugborodo community arising from alleged non-performance, profligacy and arrogance; and he (Thomas) does not need a crystal ball to tell him that his team will never be returned for a second term, he turned to Governor Uduaghan  for assistance; who wasted no time to lunch his current meddling mission in the affairs of Ugborodo community without regard for decency, fairness, morality and particularly the need to attract the requisite dignity and respect for his exalted office. For the Council of Elders, and a large section of the Ugborodo community who are largely gerontocratic in worldview, the involvements of the government of Delta State in strictly Ugborodo affairs constitutes heresy which must be resisted. All attempts by the Ugborodo community elders, and other well-meaning individuals to dissuade Governor Uduaghan from companionship/partnership with those they despised for leadership positions; in favour of espousing rectitude were allegedly rebuffed by the governor. This has in some circles been seen as the result of the alleged Delta State government’s much vaunted desire to impose a pliant leadership on the Ugborodo community; a desire that has assumed the status of a state policy of immutable and inviolable characteristics. In the process of executing the meddlesomeness, the government no doubt recruited the services of the Navy formation in the Warri axis.

The endless under funding of the different arms of the Nigerian military (the Navy in this instant case) has created a situation whereby officers and men of the Navy posted to these areas look up to the Delta state government for assistants of different forms. In this process, many of these officers have unwittingly turned themselves into handmaids to government and its officials; who now use them to pursue personal ambitions (irrespective of their ‘sodonomic’) intent. This also includes the settling of personal scores with perceived enemies. The present crises in Ugborodo amply demonstrate this.

In fairness, crises over leadership in the Ugborodo Trust (during periods of election/appointment into positions) are not new. But what is new is the direct involvement of Delta State Government in strictly community affairs to the extent that officials of Delta state government (as already stated) even went to the ridiculous extent of pretending to conduct election into leadership positions in Ugborodo Trust in contradistinction to the tradition, rules and the legal instrument of the community. Added to such aberration, is the endless wilful brutalization of agents of reasoning and decency in the community as exemplified in the Nigerian Navy being used by the government of Delta State to bundle the traditional head of the community Olaja-Orori Dube Omadeli, and three others in leadership cadre from Ode-Ugborodo to Warri; and were left to languish in prison custody for months until two days ago when they were granted bail by a Federal High Court, Warri. To demonstrate the involvement of the government of Delta State in the Ugborodo crisess particularly to be sure that the ‘captured’ leaders of the community will remain in prison custody in-perpetuity, the government of Delta State deployed its Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Charles Ajuyah (SAN) to personal lead the legal team to persuade the court not to grant them bail.  It was a failed mission, even though after much suffering!

Thus, while the Naval boss as shown in the electronic media was warning the two groups over the protracted crises which culminated into the genocidal act, he however failed to explain how the Sunday January 5th massacre could have been executed when the Navy was surely on ground in Ode-Ugborode which was turned into a slaughter community. Could it be that the Naval officers carried out the killings themselves, or turned their eyes away while (possibly) one of the factions executed the heinous act?.  Vice Admiral Ezeoba is morally and officially bound to tell the whole world how such fratricidal crime could be executed in the broad day light, with full compliments of the Navy said to be fully on ground, and even patrolling the waters of the estuary at the material time. It thus behoves the Naval boss to get explanation from his officers on ground especially those stationed in the Chevron and EGTL facilities; and such explanation (assuming Ezeoba will be professional, honest and courageous enough to  demand for such explanations) must be made public. It is an open secret that many of these officers including the police in the Warri axis are alleged to be on the pay rolls of some of these local filthy millionaires; and these top security brass daily provide them (these filthy millionaires) with gun wielding uniformed men to protect them, wives and their children, even though they occupy no-known official positions except being friends of top Delta State government officials.

Even though the struggle for occupying the expected strategic and juicy positions of interfacing with the trans-national companies (on behalf of the Ugborodo communities) that will execute the EPZ project has been endlessly canvassed as the cause of the January 5th killings; a said causal factor which the Naval boss sloganized with iron-clad certitude, a specific and equally fundamental factor of the protracted crises has conspiratorially been underplayed, even by the media.

During the first term of Chief Ereyitomi Thomas’ led Ugborodo Governing Board, (2008-2011), a project tagged New Ugborodo Town came on board, and was being ‘executed’ with the ‘strong’ involvement of the Delta State government. During the present crises for leadership, the David Tonwe led faction claimed to have stumbled into documents indicating that the government of Delta State as at 2011 had committed a whopping sum of over Three billion Naira into the project; when what is on ground cannot in pecuniary computations worth just more than few tens of millions of Naira. Since this issue came to the public domain and precipitating lamentation from the people of Ugborodo, the Delta State government has not made any categorical statement. The government’s choice for mute-indifferent to this weighty allegation of financial criminality has no doubt precipitated series of petitions from the Ugborodo Council of Elders, individuals, including the David Tonwe led-faction of Ugborodo Governing Board. Some of these petitions were directed to the office of the Inspector General of Police, and other persons in Nigeria’s political high places. As usual, the Nigerian police is taking its time to conducted its traditional endless investigations. On the part of the Ugborodo community, the battle cry for justice and unearthing of the truth gain daily crescendo. In their lamentation, they stop at nothing to accuse the Chief Ereyitomi Thomas led Ugborodo Governing Board (2008-2011) of conniving with some officials of Delta State Government to swindle their communities, themselves and future generations. In the reasoning of the Ugborodo Elders Council, the cosy relationship between the Chief Ereyitomi faction and the government of Delta State is born-out of the need for mutual assistance to ensure a cover-up. The reason for the arrest and detention of Olaja-Orori,Dube Omadeli by the Nigerian Navy on the order of the Delta State Government has (rightly or wrongly) been traced to his persistent and ‘vociferous’ calls for the arrest, prosecution and punishment of all those involved in the alleged scam.

Thus, while Ezeoba was hectoring and calling for peace, he should not be unmindful of such subterranean factors that consistently exacerbate the crises. He should appeal to his comrade in arm, the Inspector General of Police to speed up investigation on this matter and others from Ugborodo individuals, Council of Elders and both the Thomas and Tonwe led factions.

While the call for peace by the Chief of Naval Staff is most welcomed, ( even though pretending not to know that his officers and men were around when the killing were taking place), he should know that it is not yet uhuru for Ugborodo and its people as any peace achieve at the expense of justice will amount to ‘pyric peace’.

Army establishes special command to fight terrorists.


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Following incessant attacks by Boko Haram in the North East and security reports indicating that more members were being recruited for terrorism acts, the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika said yesterday, that the Army has established a Special Operation Command, NASOC, solely to tackle insurgency.

This was even as the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, yesterday, hailed the US and other countries for standing behind Nigerian military in fighting terrorists in the country and the sub-region.

Speaking with newsmen at a workshop on counter insurgency and terrorism in Abuja, Ihejirika,however, said that NASOC was approved by the Army Council as a boost to the transformation effort of the army.

The workshop was organised by the Army and Special Operations Command of the Africa-United States Counter-Insurgency and Terrorism Unit.

Expatiating on the command, Ihejirika said the Army’s role and those of other services were crucial to the overall national strategy to defeat Boko Haram terrorists and curb other security problems such as oil theft in the South-South geo-political zone of the country.

He said: “A lot of the performance of the command will depend on skills and human efforts rather than equipment and what we are doing is creating a unit of highly patriotic Nigerians ready to make sacrifices in the face of extreme danger.

“Having the special operation command will make operations at the long run less cumbersome and expensive. We want a unit that will have the ability to shelve the grains from the chaffs, to be more accurate in their target; therefore reducing the incidence of collateral damages.”

Ihejirika said that the US Government had through its Africa Command, Special Operations Command Africa, and the Office of Security Operations of the United State Embassy approved some training equipment for the command.

He said the US government was also providing training assistance towards the quick realization of the NASOC objectives.

Earlier the Chief of Transformation and Innovation, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Sani said there was need for the creation of a specialized outfit that can fit into the current and unexpected challenges.

He said this became necessary as clearly stated in the Chief of Army Staff’s vision which is to transform the Nigerian Army into a force better able to meet contemporary challenges.

“One of such transformation is the establishment of NASOC which is a low density high level strategic utility force capable of conducting direct action at low visibility operations.”

“NASOC operation will be governed by precision of conduct, timely accuracy, speed and execution and surprise to keep any adversary off balance while in special operations.”

BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI

Inferno Remark:Jonathan hails armed forces of Nigeria for Killing Biafrans to Keep Nigeria Together.


 

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President Goodluck Jonathan has commended the Nigerian Armed forces for keeping Nigeria united,adding that but for their sacrifices, Nigeria would have been two or more nations today.President Jonathan said that the only to honour those who paid the supreme price for the nation to remain one was for  leaders of today,  to watch what they say and ensure that they song they sing will bring honour to the fallen heroes and peace to the country.
The President said this Sunday at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2014 Inter-denominal church service, at the National Christian Center, Abuja
Jonathan who reiterated that his personal ambition was not worth any Nigerian spilling his/her blood, urged  politicians to heed the warning of the cleric, Revd. Oche that threats will not push the people to the polling stations come 2015 and without people voting no manipulation of figures will declare one a winner.
He commended the country’s armed forces particularly those that paid the supreme price to ensure Nigeria’s unity and urged Nigerians to emulate their selflessness in their service to the nation.
“I always believe that it could have been worse than this in terms of our challenges within and in the global trend but because of your prayers God has been kind to us.
“Pray for us to always remember our fathers because we are in a political environment and politicians always have ambitions, we really appreciate your prayers”.
The President commended the Archbishop for admonishing politicians in this era of camping and decamping.
“The Armed Forces Remembrance Day is a unique occasion but this year’s programme is even more unique because 1st January this year Nigeria marked 100 years as a nation, its not easy to get there.
“There were a lot of challenges. For us to have reached 100 years some people paid dearly for it, some people worked for it.
“The first group of people we can remember that worked and paid dearly for it are the armed forces. You know the challenges they had to face during the civil war, but for them we wouldn’t have celebrated the Centenary, Nigeria would have been two or more nations by now. But they worked for it, some died in the process, some died serving the world outside.  These are the people we are remembering today.
“We also have to emulate them. Those who have paid supreme sacrifice to keep our nation together, those of us who are alive especially leaders today, the only way to honour them is to watch whatever we say, whatever song we sing should be a song that will bring honour to them and peace to this country.
“Sometimes I get worried when I listen to provocative statements that come from very senior citizens. People that ordinarily you perceive are very senior citizens. People who are probably 70 or 80 years who have seen it all who ordinarily should know the unity of this country is more important than the interest of any individual.  Sometimes they preach hate and even encourage young people to carry arms and kill themselves.
“I have always said it that any ambition I have at any time is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. I will never ever expect a Nigerian to spill a drop of his blood because Goodluck Jonathan must fulfil his ambition.
“I pray that all politicians should know that there will be no nation if we kill ourselves, just like the Archbishop said if you want people to come out and vote why do you threaten them. If you threaten them people will stay in their houses and how do you intend to win election is it by manipulating the figures and declare yourself a winner?
“So in an occasion when we are remembering those people that have kept this country one for us to be celebrating our centenary we should admonish ourselves the key actors today, we should preach peace, we should preach unity. If all of us collectively talk about the unity and peace of this country then of course all our economic, security problems will be resolved and the country will move in the direction we want it to”.
Earlier in his sermon, Most Rev. Job Oche,  titled How do we keep Nigeria one? Noted that the fallen heroes of Nigeria did not just fight for the survival of the nation but for Africa and beyond.
He noted that in spite of the rise and fall in the nation’s history, Nigeria is still one of the leading nations in Africa.
He urged that since the fallen heroes died to keep Nigeria one and their families be taken care off by government and all concern, “because without their sacrifice we will not remain one today.
“We should do our best to keep Nigeria one so that their labour will not be in vain.
“How to keep Nigeria one is by doing our quota instead of criticising all the time. We must appreciate the transformation in aviation, agriculture sector, we must reduce unemployment rates. We must stop hiring thugs to murder opponents in order to realise our ambitions.
“Stop uttering words that will weaken those in authority and we must rebuke those who are power drunk. Speak things that will edify you and me.
“By hating other tribes or religion, this will not eliminate the tribes nor religion. No religion will surrender to the other no matter the hate, the tribal wars is as a result of land tussle etc.
“We must learn to be tolerant of others because God knows why he allowed all to exist. Every religion is meant to build the nation”.
The cleric advised politicians to give Nigerians peace, saying “some of the utterances are sending fears in the spin of Nigerians, and making us anxious of 2015.
“If you need our vote don’t threaten us because none of us will appear at the polling station. Leave 2015 alone God knows what he will do with 2015.
“Political ambition does not know father.  Pray for this nation and stop destroying one another because of ambition.
“Why are you threatening us that 2015 will be bloody? Do you know God rules in the affairs of men? Nabuccardnezar in the Bible did not know but he was taught a lesson.
In this era of decamping, the church has no answer to that because they are also decamping. Whether you decamped or not the Most High God will speak.
“No rebellious group in the Bible ever succeeded, recalled how Absulum rebelled against his father? He died by hanging”.
First Scripture Reading from Psalm 91:1-16, was taken by the Chief of Army, Lt. Gen Azubike Ihejirikan while Second Scripture Reading from Ephesians 6:10-19a, was taken by President  Jonathan
Prayers were said for the President, for the Armed Forces and Peace in Nigeria and for the Legislature and the Judiciary.
Prayers were also said on insecurity,  terrorism, conflicts and unrest as well as for the families of the fallen heroes.
Some notable personalities in attendance were, Senate President David Mark, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, the President’s mother, Eunice Jonathan, Chairman Board of Trustees of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)N Chief Tony Anineh, Secretary to Government of Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, Chief of Staff to the President and other presidential aides.
Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and their wives, DG SSS, Ita Ekpenyong, Comptroller General of Immigrations and the Nigerian Civil Defence Corp, members of the diplomatic, members of the judiciary among other personalities.
by: Biafra Galaxy

Nigeria; 2015 And A ‘Diminished’ Sovereignty.


By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Few days before last year’s yuletide, a major political statement with far-reaching constitutional import was made by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission[INEC] Professor Attahiru Jega to the effect that if the violent and bloody insurgency in the North Eastern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa persisted till January 2015 when the next General elections would hold, then the war torn states may not witness any of the election activities meaning that the chunk of the electorate from a sub-section of the nation would be disenfranchised in one of the Nigeria’s most historic elections since amalgamation one hundred years back.

President-Goodluck-JonathanIronically his ugly picture was graphically painted to depict a clear state of war in the North East barely two weeks after the confused technocrats in the Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry disputed the account of the International Criminal Court [ICC] which stated that the North East of Nigeria is indeed witnessing a civil war. If the Nigerian state say the North East is not in a state of war, why then will the same government come up to admit that a situation of war going on in that same section of the country was capable of scuttling the holding of the general election in January 2015?

The same foreign affairs ministry opposed the United States government some months back to declare the dreaded Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization only for the same Nigerian state to applaud the United States Government late last year when the administration indeed proceeded with the declaration of the global terrorists status against the Nigerian-based Boko Haram.

But in order not to detract from our subject of debate in this piece it is appropriate to remind my readers that almost immediately that significant warning was issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission that the continuous insurgency and armed insurrection in the North East may lead to withholding election in that section of the country come January 2015 polls, the political establishment of the opposition wing misconstrued that to mean that the Federal Government under the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] was only rehearsing through the mouth piece of the supposed independent electoral umpire how it intends to scheme out a  large percentage of the support base of the newly registered opposition All Progressives Congress in the coming polls to provide soft landing for the expected flag bearer of the national ruling party and the current President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Good luck Jonathan.

Jonathan it would be recalled has neither declined or declared his intention to seek reelection in the January 2015 general election. Sadly, the political opposition in Nigeria has spectacularly failed to set up scholarly think tank made up of find minds to proffer alternative solutions to the prevailing state of insecurity in the North East which it controls both in the executive and the legislative arms. Nigeria’s political opposition indulge in playing huge political gambits with the state of insecurity threatening the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

Back to the bone of contention concerning whether election will hold or not in the North East if insurgency continues, those  In the opposition political bloc who believe President Jonathan is scheming to run say his body language shows clearly that his ambition to be reelected in 2015 is overwhelming. Incidentally, supporters of the current President whose hidden ambition to run as the Presidential flag bearer of his party with largely hand picked national hierarchy has divided the once formidable national party, are bent on ensuring that President Jonathan is returned elected.

The intensity of the contest among the ruling national party on which section of Nigeria should produce the next Presidential candidate which led to the formation of a break away faction [New PDP] that later merged with other opposition parties that coalesced into the single largest opposition political platform the All Progressives Congress [APC] has also been played up in the kinds of reactions that have emerged following the warning of the possibility of not holding election in the terrorism afflicted North Eastern states come 2015.

In a surreptitious attempt to put a lie to the fear expressed by the electoral commission that the ongoing insurgency may deny the electorate of the affected states of their constitutional civil and political rights in the coming national election, the Yobe state government staged a choreographed local council polls during which time no incidence of terrorism happened and indeed the newly formed All Progressives Congress which controls the state staged a successful but massively dramatic political rally in the trouble spot of Damaturu, Yobe state.

The local council poll that followed resulted in the eventual emergence of the All Progressives Congress [APC] as the winner in all the councils which means that even though the state indeed produced the nation’s junior finance minister who is a card carrying member of the national ruling party [PDP]and also the immediate past national women leader Hajia Chiroma who now holds a strategic Federal Board appointment under the current Jonathan administration could not even win their local councils of origin.

The Yobe political scenario that played up in the just concluded local council polls may have achieved two points in the thinking of the opposition All Progressives Congress namely, that the Independent National Electoral Commission need not fear to conduct the general election in January 2015 in the North Eastern states even with the disturbing phenomenon of violent terrorism attacks and secondly that the opposition political platform which gained Adamawa state with the cross carpeting of the PDP produced Governor Murtallah Nyako with the possible decampment of the former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to the fold of opposition politicians, it may as well be appropriate to admonish the national ruling party to begin singing nunc dimitis [it is finish] as long as their political fortune is concerned in the coming election. How true are these political conjectures?

However, while career politicians continue to debate the merit and demerit of the threat by the electoral panel not to go ahead with election in January 2015 in the North East if the terrorists attacks persist, it is noteworthy to observe that the usually media omnipresent Nigerian military establishment has not said a word regarding the national security implication of the possibility that the violent insurgency by the dreaded armed Islamic rebels [Boko Haram]  could hamper the smooth conduct or indeed undermine the holding of election in all parts of Nigeria giving the fact that the constitutional mandate of the Nigerian military is to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria and effectively safeguard the national interest of Nigeria and ensure that constitutional events such as the coming national election is not unduly sabotaged by armed insurrectionists.

The hierarchy of the Nigerian Armed Forces may have deliberately overlooked the obvious fact that if the next general election is in any way undermined leading to it not being held in any part thereof then the sovereignty of Nigeria can as well be adjudged diminished. This scenario must be avoided by all legitimate means. How do we feel as a sovereign state to wake up one morning to find out that some armed hoodlums who indeed crumbled the Maiduguri international airport by a barrage of successful attacks [in December 2013] leading to its closure to air traffic for three months [till March 2014] can successfully impede the conduct of election in over five states of the country with significant electorate?

Now a basic question to be asked is why the Nigerian armed forces has yet to implement comprehensive and effective combat strategies to clearly demonstrate to all Nigerians that it is capable of eliminating any major terrorist threat that may indeed scuttle the coming election in any form, shape or nature or indeed any criminal and rebellious activities by any armed hoodlums that will stop the constitutionally empowered electoral panel from holding election in all parts of Nigeria simultaneously. Why was it possible for the Iraqi and Afghanistan governments to have successfully organized national elections amidst civil wars whereas Nigeria that has over the last two years started fighting the armed insurgents in the North East not being able to confidence building measures to enable election that is one clear calendar year away from holding successfully in Nigeria? Where have all the Billions of public fund said to have been invested in procuring state of the art security infrastructure to change the security architecture of Nigeria to battle terrorists gone to? Have the massive defence budget of Nigeria been stolen in 2013? Nigerians need answers to these critical posers.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs

Source: African Examiner.

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