Immediate past COAS, Tukur Buratai
By Gabriel Kekong
A non governmental organization, African Centre for Leadership and Good Governance (ACLG’s) has called on the Senate to expedite action on the confirmation of the former Service Chiefs: Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Navy Staff, Ibok Ete Ekwe Ibas, and Chief of the Air Chief Sadique Abubakar as non career ambassadors as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari in his letter to them.
The group posited that the nomination of these intelligence men was a case of putting a square peg in a square hole, adding that their nomination as non- career ambassadors by the President is in order, that the President exercised his presidential prerogative and has not breached the law or constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria therefore urged for speedy confirmation by the senate.
In a press release issued at Lagos by the Executive Director, Dr. Chindo Nkweke and Executive Research Assistant, Hassan Bature Muhammed, the duo said their nominations mean a reward for hard work and exceptional sacrifices and a service to the nation, the past service chiefs are really worthy ambassadors, who deserve to be honored with the service of further pushing the country forward in foreign relations and international diplomacy.
ACLG insists that the National Assembly is under obligation to consider the nominations on the basis of merit, qualification and capacities and that the onus now falls on the Senate to use its screening and approval processes in tandem with the law of the country, to favor these men of tested loyalty and professionalism.
ACLG also reiterated that the services of the ex-service chiefs will be required in global security challenges and counter-insurgency matters across the globe, particularly the Sub-Saharan region, while also bringing their wealth of experience to bear in assisting the country in its insurgency war with Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
However, the group noted that there was no justification for the uproar and criticisms from the section of the country particularly when these chiefs who have distinguished themselves in decimating the Boko Haram insurgents into small pockets and that the country stands to gain global acceptance and mileage as the nominees are seen globally as men of impeccable character, bravery and professional successes.
ACLG kicked against the alleged orchestrations by individuals, fifth columnists and international organizations to launch a smear campaign and cast aspersions on the reputation of the past service chiefs should desist forthwith and they should not allow themselves to be used against patriotic Nigerians who have served the nation meritoriously and who will continue to serve in higher capacities.
It noted that most of the vocal groups and individuals clamoring against the confirmation were misplaced and their conclusions substantially grounded in speculations, rumors and hearsay, lacking empirical evidence to back up their points and claims.
Consequently, emphasizing that the postulations are hinged on the allegations of rights abuses and crimes against humanity while in office cannot be substantiated with evidence in the court of public opinion and lacking in merit.
The statement reads: “The development has been trailed by condemnations with few suggesting that their nominations and subsequent confirmation were to shield them from prosecution, especially by the International Court of Justice (ICC), which is not a fact.
”Whereas the merits outweighs the demerits of the issue at stake and the few calls from sponsored political jobbers and propagandists who are hell-bent to always criticize the government no matter the policy direction in order to be heard so as to score cheap political point and settle personal scores, should be jettisoned and disregarded by well-meaning Nigerians.
“We, at ACLG therefore call on the Senate that General Buratai and the former service chiefs should ‘take a bow and go’”.
“These men are ready to give their lives for the unity, peace and stability of the continent, stating that the nomination and confirmation by the Senate will be a morale booster for incoming chiefs, including men and officers of the Armed Forces who will renew their commitment to the fight against insurgency, knowing full well the benefits that accrues to loyalty and patriotism.
“Some of the commentators relied on the Article 29 of Vienna Convention which protects diplomats from arrest and grants them immunity against civil and criminal prosecution while on the contrary non-careers ambassadors do not have immunity so why the hue and cry from fifth columnists and mischief makers who are out to fan the embers of divisiveness by taking advantage of any government appointment or policy direction to vent their anger and frustrations with the system.
“We therefore call on the Senate to handle their huge task and responsibility of thoroughly weighing their options before them and looking at the capacities of these distinguished professionals, who had served the nation selflessly, saying that foreign relations are not based on moral ground but much deeper diplomatic issues and facts,” the statement reads.
The release added that it is a step in the right direction. The nominations and subsequent confirmation of the former service chiefs by the National Assembly as the actions of government will build citizens’ confidence engender peace and stability of the country as it will further afford the former service chiefs rare opportunity to advance their experiences, knowledge and professionalism in galvanizing support against the insurgents from foreign countries.
It also stated that these men of professional integrity will also assist with strategic tactical warfare plans to end the insurgency and as well reinforce intelligence gathering across sub-Saharan Africa.
Therefore, ACLG said it has passed a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of the former service chiefs for providing a higher platform for the chiefs to lend their rich military experiences for the growth, peace, unity and stability of not only Nigeria but the entire continent, as they will galvanize global support for peace initiatives in the continent.
Accordingly, this nomination has put paid to insinuations of impending trial by the ICC and therefore ACLG congratulates the nominees on their appointments as ambassadors and encourages that they should be focused on the greater task ahead of serving the nation in higher capacities and not to be distracted by the innuendoes. They should therefore, “take a bow and go,” for having served their fatherland meritoriously.
African Centre for Leadership and Good Governance (ACLG’s) objectives are to ascertain the place of good governance and leadership as a necessary catalyst to satisfactory development of any society, and that leaders must be made to be accountable.
Established leadership commitment and good governance is fundamental to the survival and progress of any nation. Governance is indispensable for institutional and political growth and effectiveness. So also decisions and good governance are the capability of a government to sustain social peace, guarantee law and order, promote conditions needed for generating general economic growth, and ascertain minimum level of social security on a sustainable basis.
ACLG is a non-profit, non-political, pro-democracy platform that focuses on leadership, accountability, transparency, good governance and justice across the African continent, and recently, ‘forced’ to join issues on critical developmental paradigm shift across the African states as it affects the economic, political and prosperity of Africa as a continent and Nigeria in particular being the giant of Africa.
It is a perceived notion that whatever happens in Nigeria has a spill-over effect whether positive or negative across the Africa continent.
Of recent, the appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2021, of the former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors, in a letter sent to the National Assembly, has thrown up a lot of issues that were dead and buried.
One week after the resignation and appointments of the former service chiefs as non-career ambassadors, there had been consistent opposition by many across the country, though some support this noble objective.
These professionals with several years of experience had distinguished themselves, having served their fatherland meritoriously with patriotism.
Having critically examined the political undertone, the drum-beats of unfair judgment, the divisiveness in the matter that borders on patriotism, loyalty and national security, there is a cause for concern, and ACLG is forced to ask: When has loyalty, patriotism and selfless service to one’s nation become a crime?