Will service chiefs’ ouster end insecurity?

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By Mustapha Maikudi Abdullahi

One important and undisputable condition of human life is change. We humans are changing but we tend to ignore that fact and behave as if we will never change. Change is one of the most fearful to humans for the unknown it will produce.

This is more common to statecraft and the bulk of personnel that drive the state machines. Civil and or public servants are more fearful of change than any human if not all. This is more prevalent in a society like ours that is bedeviled with corruption and all other ill-vices. Particularly when that change is bottom-top driven, whereby, someone from the bottom is coming up to the ladder of schemes. This is more fearful because of the loss of the so-called “bounty” associated with the position to be lost. That is one reason public servants in Nigeria view their position as a do or die affairs as well as their godfathers too.


Like in all other things of third world countries where democratic administrations are shadowed with a very particular issue, the current Buhari administration was a no exception to that. One of such issues that dominated this administration was that of service Chief’s in particular and insecurity in general. Like all things being Buhari, despite numerous calls by both people in position and those out of position to make the call, as well as experts, professionals, technocrats, and even laymen, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) refused to listen to all the calls for either removing his service Chief’s or sacking, or giving them a soft landing (where they will tender their resignation from service as well as being service chief’s).

Refusal to listen to the removal of service chiefs was not the only stubborn ear of PMB from 2015 to date. Since 2018 or so there have been calls to PMB to reshuffle his cabinet for lack of super-action ministers as what was obtained during the previous administration. As it is today, we do not have any active minister in the entire cabinet of PMB, like we used to have in the previous administrations/regimes. For example, we had Oil lady, Adesina of the Agricultural transformation during the Goodluck Jonathan era.

During Obasanjo we had T Y Danjuma, Ngozi and El-Rufa’i of the monetization brouhaha. During the Abacha era we had the late Malam Wada Nas, Walter Ofonagoro. The current dispensation with the exception of Pantami, we do not have any vibrant Minister. Unfortunately, all national programs are one scandal after the other, from primary school feeding to 774,000 jobs, etc. Thus, it is the entire nation’s operational manual (if we have any) that needs to be renewed to upgrade to our current realities.

As mentioned above, merely sacking of service chiefs (or accepting their resignation) will not solve our insecurity problems. What is needed is transformation of the Nigerian Armed forces in line with our insecurities and peculiarities as well as the twenty first century. As one national daily newspaper quoted former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Buratai saying that counter insurgency was alien to Nigerian Army, thus, we are supposed to see new measures from the Armed forces that are in tandem of fighting counter insurgencies. These new measures are supposed to be from the recruitment, training, on the job training, as well as collaborations with other Armies that have more experience in fighting counter insurgencies, like those of the Philippines (Philippines was involved for many years in fighting the Abu Sayef’s group). Though this is a security issue (the collaboration might be under the carpet), if there was collaboration in this regard, at least the two countries would have an exchange of Military attaché.

With the new service Chiefs, we all hope things will change for the better. But to be honest to ourselves, we must search for proper solutions for our myriad problems beyond replacing personality. Our real problems agreed to personality as well as the system itself. The same system that produces the previous service chiefs is the same system that produces the new ones, thus, what will be the difference (the difference might only be in leadership style).

But they all went to Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), went to Command and Staff College Jaji, went to Nigeria War College, with the same curriculum as that when these schools were established! One major problem with our Armed forces was an obsolete system that was inherited from colonial administration. The training of our military was that of colonial time! Nothing changed out of it. The recruitment system was the same too. During colonial times or at the reign of the “Great Britain Empire” counter insurgency is not the norm of challenges facing militaries world over, but it is today.

What is highly needed today in the quagmire we are in, is total and complete overhauling of our military and security landscape for counter insurgency challenges and instilling highly needed discipline and patriotism in our soldiers, officers, and the citizens of our dear country in general. Mere replacement of service chiefs who are products of the same system of incompetency, nepotism, corruption, godfatherism etc., will never take us to the promised land as we desire.  Rather will take us backward as the case has been and history proved. We are prevalently praying and hoping this insecurity quagmire will come to an end and also hope these service chiefs will accomplish the much-needed peace so that we avoid the bloodshed in our dear country of innocent men and women, ameen.

Abdullahi writes via llccoimex@gmail.com

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily

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