NIGERIAN SENATE, expectedly and expressly, may approve President Buhari’s nomination of the immediate past ex-service chiefs as ambassadors. But Nigerians in their various views and concerns, rejected the president’s choice and decision to, suddenly, within a week, of the retirements of the service chiefs, elevate them to ambassadorial jobs. What a haste! Why the haste? What could be amidst such haste? They have asked.
Nigeria, is becoming a model, of a country of citizens, “immune” to inexorable infamy of unyielding and most brazen leadership. The consequences have been economic and political disorders, unsettled and extremely impoverished citizens; overheated polity and heightened insecurity. The actors are the ruling class and their competing interests.
President Buhari is not known, in the past five years, as a leader who, meticulously, prepared in advance, precise and prompt solutions or decisions, on crucial national issues. His foot-dragging and reluctance in making decisions and taking necessary actions on issues, earned him the acronym “baba go-slow”. The president himself knows and acknowledges, that he is slow in decision making and weak in acting.
EXITING the immediate past service chiefs, after retirement from service and extension of their service; and after relentless public outcries for their replacement, is current case in point of the president’s foot-dragging in decision making. Another, is the exiting of the present outgoing Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who retired in February 2021; and presently, on an extension of his tenure for three months.
Adamu’s case is interesting. President Buhari was reported to have said he extended his tenure to “allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing a new IG”, according to the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, after a visit to the president, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The president was, also, said not to be aware of the retirement date of IGP Adamu. The extension of IGP Adamu’s tenure, would enable the president source an adequate replacement.
Dingyadi said: “Mr President has decided that the present IGP, Mohammed Adamu, will continue to serve as the IG for the next three months, to allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing a new IG”. And added that this is not unconnected to the “desire of Mr President to, not only have a smooth handover, but to also ensure that the right officer is appointed into that position.”
By extant laws and service regulations, serving public office holders, retire after maximum 35 years of service. They exist from service with “advance retirement notice” to the authorities. In the cited cases of the service chiefs and IGP Adamu, and other past precedents of the president’s procrastination and inaction; analysts said, gives the impression, that the president is not in charge of issues confronting the nation, or may have outsourced leadership of the country to some stooge.
WITHIN A WEEK, after the replacement of the former service chiefs, Abayomi Olonisakin, Defense; Tukur Burutai, Army; Sadique Abubakar, Airforce; and Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Navy; President Buhari, with lightning speed, unknown of his leadership, and in a brazen manner, nominated them for fresh plum job – ambassadors designate, and forwarded their names to Nigerian Senate for confirmation.
Questions are being asked. Is President Buhari, really, conscious of the fact that he is the president of a democratic nation – Nigeria? Is he, really, in charge of running the affairs of the nation? Does he have competent advisers – men and women, willing to tell him the truth, and save the country from national and international embarrassment? Is he familiar with leadership, governance, democracy and constitutional rule of law? Is Nigeria being taken for granted by the president, and for how long?
The ex-service chiefs, nominated by the president as ambassador designate, are on spotlight in Nigeria and international public opinion, during their service to the nation, especially, as service chiefs, since 2015, when they were appointed by President Buhari. After about six years of prosecuting the war on insurgency in the country, without meaningful results, they were adjudged as either incompetent, or out-rightly, lacking in sound ideas of waging the war against insurgency in the country. Insecurity in Nigeria deteriorated under their watch.
Analysts believe their nomination as ambassador-designate, within a week, of their disengagement from service, was none other, than likely cover up. There have been reports that they may be wanted and charged for alleged war crime by the ICC, while in office. It is likely, pressure will mount from Nigerians and civil society groups, for the probe of their activities while in office, especially, on defence budgets.
IMPLICATION of the brazen nomination of the ex-service chiefs, as ambassador designate, by President Buhari, observes noted, could be that the president may be sensing that there could be pressure for the officers to be call to account for their stewardship. And the president decided to, diplomatically, shield them from likely actions that could be taken again them, to hold them accountable during their tenure.
They believe, President Buhari’s action could further shape and aggravate accusations that his leadership is running a nepotic government; a government accommodating and shielding incompetent and corrupt officers; a government rated most corrupt by Transparency International, TI; and a government said to be leading the country to a failed state.
While considering President Buhari’s request for confirmation of the ex-service chiefs, as ambassadors, Nigeria’s ninth Senate, needs to live up to expectations, as the bastion of democratic sustenance. They have earned for themselves a “rubber stamp” national assembly, that is always aligning – swimming and sinking with Buhari’s government. The lawmakers owe the nation responsibility – good governance and responsible leadership.
The National Assembly — the Senate and the House of Representatives, in 2020, passed resolutions and engaged the presidency, on the need for the service chiefs to resign, or be sacked for failing in their duties. This was as a result of worsening insecurity in the country – leading to wanton killings of citizens by insurgent Boko Haram, and the failing of the service chiefs to take charge and put the situation under control.
Would these men pass the Nigerian Senate screening and confirmation as Ambassadors, representing the country; in other countries? Can the lawmakers, resist being further tagged “rubber stamp” Senate, always aligning with President Buhari’s leadership, on matters that may not be of national interest? Posers for Senate.