Service Chiefs Or Chief Servants?

One of the major reasons according to political experts and analysts why the nation fails to move forward is the larger than life posture of those appointed by the President to secure or defend the country and its territorial waters and borders. As soon as they are appointed and confirmed they feel and assume that even the life of the man who appointed them is in their hands and they can chose to do whatever they like to him. That is s subtle way of playing God, isn’t it?

It is therefore not surprising that most times the service chiefs get carried away by the euphoria of their appointment and the paraphernalia of their offices that they play into the hands of selfish politicians and businessmen who often use whether knowingly or unknowingly to carry out wicked acts against the state by creating political tension, chaos and uproar which make the government and its leaders unpopular before the masses, populace and even the international community. And the end product is either a coup by way of military action or a change of government by means of forcing the National Assembly to move a motion to impeach the President. Most of the coups and forceful change of governments lately in Africa like the one in Mali is as a result of this issue.

It is therefore expected that often times whoever the President is especially in Nigeria changes the Service Chiefs once he notices that his interest is no longer protected or the loyalty of the Service Chiefs is no longer guaranteed. Once the President’s intelligence and high powered security survey and reports do not convince him any longer that his Service Chiefs are on his side especially if there are clear signs that the opposition has infiltrated into the rank and file of the military, sure, the only thing to do with immediate effect is to change the guard.

Has the opposition particularly with the very vibrant and active presence and roles of the All Progressives Congress (APC) since its grand formation and entrance into Nigeria’s political environment and history some four months ago proven that President Goodluck Jonathan has to be wary of his Service Chiefs? Is it possible for the opposition as presently constituted capable of infiltrating into the military and possibly buying over Jonathan’s Service Chiefs? Has the failure of the immediate past Service Chiefs to put an end to the menace of Boko Haram proven enough that there truly is a need for a change of guard in the military high command? I leave the answer to that puzzle to you dear and esteem readers.

It is therefore not surprising that we have had no fewer than 27 Army chiefs talking about Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in 54 years which gives us an average of one COAS every two years. The same goes for the Navy and Air Force. Of course we already know the story of the Police. If this new sets of Service Chiefs fail to toe the line of honour the numbers will simply increase and we will keep counting. Jonathan can no longer take chances. The man seems to have woken up to the reality that those who want him out meant serious business. May be the appointment of the new Service Chiefs is a further testimony to the fact that the man from Ogbia in Otuoke clan wants a second term.

Indeed Jonathan through his recent action (change of his Service Chiefs) is being careful because he understands that for 2015 polls not to be hijacked by some persons who may employ foreign aides to disrupt the election thus create political pandemonium if not an uprising, there is the urgent need to close down on the dreaded Boko Haram which is a very vulnerable tool for his perceived political enemies to achieve their goal.

However, Jonathan must understand that it is one thing to appoint Service Chiefs yet another to guarantee their loyalty from the first day of their appointment to his last day in office. For these Service Chiefs to be effective to Jonathan’s administration they have to see themselves as Chief Servants (Your Excellency Gov. Muazu Babangida Aliyu) please accept my appeal to use that phrase or expression. By being Chief Servants they must understand that by protecting the interest of their boss they are already by extension doing same to the country at large and vice versa. Nigeria is bigger than any individual or any group. The kid gloves with which the immediate past Service Chiefs handled the Boko Haram insurgents in the last six months which has witnessed massive killings of innocent Nigerians (about 7000) in separate attacks leaves more to be desired.

The mere fact that army barracks were attacked in Borno and several family members of soldiers were killed is enough insult to the Nigerian military and it gives a clear signal of what is to come to Jonathan. It proves that Boko Haram is deadlier than the average Nigerian thinks it is. It further confirms the fears of the United States of America that the activities of Boko Haram if not checked could soonest spread within and around the West African sub-region and that could be terrible if it teams up with other terror groups in Mali, Mauritania and even up north in Algeria.

The world has focused its security and intelligence searchlight on Nigeria following the embarrassing attacks in the army barracks. This informed Jonathan’s decision to change his Service Chiefs. Whether they (Service Chiefs) will choose to service the nation or service themselves by wearing starched uniforms to their offices in the morning and retiring to starched and expensive babaringa in the evenings in classy and exclusive guest houses scattered around Abuja while bombs from the insurgents are flying over the heads of innocent and defenseless Nigerians hitting churches, schools, recreation centers, barracks and Emirs Palaces among others only time will tell.

If the 2015 elections will be safe, free and fair, it must start from the actions of the present Service Chiefs. If Nigeria will remain together as one indivisible nation or if the very visible elements, factors and agents of disintegration will break up the country into six or more geographical provinces or states, it will depend on how the new Service Chiefs steer the ship of Nigeria in the next 18 months if they remain on duty. They are the real leaders of Nigeria at the moment. They are the most trusted of Jonathan’s cronies, lieutenants, aides, associates and advisors for now. The trio will remain Nigeria’s President until after the 2015 elections!

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