By Emman Ovuakporie
A member of the House of Representatives, Rep Rimamande Shawulu on Tuesday said the replacement of Service Chiefs by President Muhamnadu Buhari came too late as insurgency has gone national.
It was politically designed to assuage the political elites in Nigeria because of the lopsided structure of the military apparatus and other security Agencies in Nigeria.
Shawulu a former Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Army in the 8th Assembly disclosed this in an exclusive chat with TheNewsGuru.com, (TNG).
The Taraba Lawmaker described Buhari’s action as long over due because he “ought to have effected these changes two years.
This new appointment of service chiefs, do you think it will give us the required succour in combating insecurity.
“”In the first place the decision is more political. The decision was arrived at to assuage the feelings of Nigerians who have complained repeatedly that one, the appointment of the service chiefs and indeed of the security agencies head were loopsided in favour of one section of the country and so this decision and the changes are made to assuage those feelings.
Secondly you would also note that both chambers of the national assembly have repeatedly called for the removal of the service chiefs and so this decision is also made to appeal to that section of the political elites which has been consistently complaining about the perceived non performance of the service chiefs.
Like I said in my contributions in one of the plenary sessions, the fixation we have had in the national assembly on the perceived incompetence of the service chiefs is not in my opinion a proper way to look at the security challenges we have in the country.
Like I said before there is no new service chiefs that will be appointed that has not been part of the army high command for instance.
And of course if we are complaining that the army and the military have not performed well in the north east and then you bring two former commanders of this forces in the north east, the chief of defence staff. If you say the military has not performed well in the north east and you are bringing people who were part of the command structure in the north east.
General Irabor was a commander of the operation and General Attahiru too was a commander of the operation there, so you can see that that is really no response because in looking at change of personalities as the basis for improvement in the fight against insurgency is just one part of the question.
The second part of the question which we don’t usually want to look at is the fact that you need to look at the whole military structure and the reason why we have boko haram today to be able to understand how you can solve the problem because the problem of insurgency, the problem of insecurity has widen so much especially in he last few years affecting almost all the States of the federation.
I am sure you have seen videos of some armed gangs in forested areas of the southern part of the country circulating all over.
The Governor of Niger State and some political office holders complaining of the activities of bandits or whatever you call them in Niger State and Niger state shares boundary with Abuja.
You also note last week or early this week, the Governor of Nasarawa State came to Abuja to say that boko haram was in Nasarawa state and Nasarawa state also share boundary with the FCT.
You know that the problem we have is a very big problem that has to go beyond the change of office holders.
I must admit that, in my view, the service chiefs stayed too long way beyond what they should have been allowed to do because their staying in office for so long actually affected the morale of the senior officers.
The reason is that every military person, every class that passes out of the army training school hopes that one of its class mates, one person in their class will rise to become the chief of army staff or the chief of air staff or the chief of naval staff; because this people stayed beyond their legal mandate because I am not of sure what the position of the law is, but I don’t think they should have stayed beyond four years, that is two terms.
The fact that they have stayed so long meant that several cadres, several classes have been forced to retire from the military without their class mates achieving this highest rank in the military and that is a distortion of service and that in my opinion should not have been allowed to happen.
And of course that would have also dampen the morale because it may have given the impression that whoever was in charge did not trust officers who were below those ranks.
So this thing that has taken place now should have taken place at least two years ago in my own opinion.