Opinion

Buhari, our service chiefs and their abiding loyalty

 

By Kolawole Abe

A silent and resilient reminder of unforgettable events to leaders in most climes of the world is history, which has always dwarfed the power of mistiness. If men had the domineering power to stop history, and shatter the cord of leaders from lessons of history, there is no extent that the energy would be exhausted until mission is effectuated.

With history’s “nuisance,” a leader needs a superb aptitude to discern deception from falsehood, even from his volley of personal aides. None is really dependable.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari seems to be in a quicksand of violence and killings. Nigeria has suddenly become inflammable any other day, in violence, attacks, killings and bloodletting. The veiled internal actors and devil’s advocates have fuelled the fire further by domesticating kidnappings, assassinations and armed robbery to the subsisting national burden of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.

They go further afield in staging such dastardly acts of unjustified killings right at the doorstep of Mr. President. In the aftermath, their propaganda machinery picks it over and amplify. Once it is done, President Buhari earns enough abuses from Nigerians, some of whom arrogantly asks him to resign.

Upon discovery that President Buhari is adamant about his resignation, they carelessly venture into his exclusive field, by persuading him to sack his Service and Security Chiefs (SSCs). They fault every other thing with the SSCs, except their own faulty approach to Mr. President.

It has never bothered such villains for once to think why President Buhari relies on his personal experience on Service Chiefs. He publicly said, he won’t be externally prodded to sack his Service Chiefs in an emergency situation and also, accepts unreserved responsibility for their actions. There is something clearly fishy in campaigns or agitations for sack of SSCs.

Very often, the ruled hardly know leaders have a burden which keeps them awake all night. The nightmares of such leaders are what a literary Icon, Prof. Ben Okri, rummaged in the title of one of his novels – “The Landscapes Within.” No doubt the reality that the landscapes on the rostrum of leadership have several layers and faces in Nigeria. Africans say, every lizard crawls with her belly flat on the ground and so, it’s difficult to know which one suffers from bellyache.

Generally, a leader must not please everybody. But the leader hears every voice, whether remonstrative, meek or pliant. Thereafter, he speaks to his inner conscience and proudly takes a decision. The leader’s bent may not placate everyone in his kingdom. That reality alone does not deprive him of his aura as leader or the supremacy of his decisions.

Men are found everywhere! But its not every man would wear the tag of a leader. There is natural and artificial leadership whirlwind which blows strongly against leaders. The tantalizing wind can easily displace an unstable leader.

When a leader is not independently driven by the passion of his decisions to tenaciously hold unto them, while facing persecutions, he might have unconsciously dug his deepest pit of damnation. He must not trust everyone around him. If he does, it means he is nicely doomed.

The Holy Scriptures says, Jesus Christ had just 12 disciples. And by faith and his teachings, he trusted all the 12. But at the ninth hour, Judas Iscariot first betrayed him to the Chief Priest for monetary inducement as low as a price like thirty pieces of silver. And Christ’s seeming most trusted disciple, Simon Peter, who vowed to even die with Jesus Christ, denied him three times before the cock crowed when the Chips were down.

President Buhari has numerous presidential aides, and appointees. Out of the cortege of appointees, he trusts his SSCs. Does anyone expect that the President trusts every one of them to assist him in the redemption mission of Nigeria? By body and flesh, it is not possible. Why are some Nigerians having difficulties in Buhari’s trust and confidence in his SSCs?

Some Nigerians mistakenly think, President Buhari is a weakling and cannot stand by his official decisions. But same people forget that even at the peak of his reelection electioneering campaigns in 2019, the President dismissed public clamour for the sack of SSCs, because he can vouch for the trust and performance of the incumbents. He was lucid that no one knows the mindset of their successors, especially now that there is a competitive and coordinated public push for the termination of their appointments.

Buhari was insistent that; “I don’t know them on a personal basis; I followed records and thought, I picked the best then. Of course, their performance may be disappointing, but I accept responsibility for not changing them. My reason is based on my own experience.”

The short explanation provides an official insight into Mr. President’s personal rating of the SSCs. It conveys his trust, confidence and loyalty in these appointees. It speaks defiantly loud about the Commander -In-Chief’s (C-in-C) unyielding official relationship with his SSCs, tethered on the loyalty and, an inseparable cord nourished by the much they have done to quell Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism and allied insurgencies in Nigeria.

If Nigerians cannot appreciate the reality, but it still remains that in spite of ISWAP’s additional force on Boko Haram militants, 18 LGAs in the Northeast have been reclaimed by the current crop of SSCs under the Buhari Presidency; over 20,000 Nigerian hostages including Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls have regained freedom and reunited with their families.

And residents of Abuja, the nation’s capital and major cities in the Northern parts of the country have not experienced any terrorists bomb blasts in nearly five years or have Boko Haram attempted to transit to Southern Nigerian. Top Boko Haram commanders and foot soldiers strangulated by the same Security Chiefs have surrendered from their hideouts in thousands to the Nigerian Army or can anyone refute that rebuilding and reconstruction in the Northeast is massively rebranding the faces of devastated and ruined villages, then it is not enough reason for the doubting Thomases to hallucinate for sack of SSCs.

Every President, anywhere in the globe would ensure, he employs the best strategies overt or covert to guarantee, the armed forces are not compromised, particularly during emergency situations as Nigeria struggles with insurgencies and insurrections now. Only a confused leader will abandon his first good squad for a trial team at this stage of the world cup.

Definitely, and only simpletons would think the C-In-C would change his winning team of Security Chiefs based on public clamour. Only a thoughtless leader would acquiesce to such blackmail and history would apportion all the blames to him. How many citizens mount such pressures on the President elsewhere in the world?

But Nigerians have a wrong version of democracy and its tenets. They neither know their limits of freedom of expression on general matters nor security issues. It is not the duty of every Nigerian, lobbyists, political parties, associations, or street urchin and organizations to mount malevolent heat on the President to change his Security Chiefs.

President Buhari must be allowed to freely and without encumbrances exercise his executive powers on maintaining, elongating, renewing the tenure or sacking his SSCs. It is a liberty averred every President of Nigeria. Boko Haram started under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and festered. But he was never pressured to sack his Security Chiefs And even under former President Umaru Yar’Adua, when it gathered momentum, there were no such public clamour for sacking of his Security Chiefs.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ) had a pretty nice time with his Security Chiefs as from 2011 until he began to listen and comply with public agitations on rejigging his team of Security Chiefs. The moment GEJ started pandering to public wishes for a change of Security team greater problems set in. He got the drift very belatedly and by the time he was pressured to change the then COAS. Gen. A. Ihejirika, insecurity in Nigeria nosedived into the worse ditch. Even when Boko Haram abducted 276 Chibok schoolgirls and seized several LGAS in the Northeast, no public voice vibrated for sack of his Security Chiefs.

Contrastively, today Buhari has very courageous men as Security Chiefs. They are the flagship of Nigeria’s very best senior Military officers who sleep in the trenches with the troops and their convoys have been attacked severally by Boko Haram at the warfront, but they repelled all enemy ambushes, killing scores of insurgents.

The same Security Chiefs whom some selfish Nigerians wished sacked are those who personally trudge the swamps and caves of Lake Chad Basin area with troops in clearance operations; feel their pinch and fight terrorists with them together; supply them needed warfare weapons; boost the morale of troops, pay their legitimate allowances promptly and regularly, or fend for their families.

Just last week, the convoy of a Security Chief on his usual routine visits of troops in the Northeast was evacuating stranded passengers on Maiduguri-Damboa road. While he was offering this patriotic service to his country, some people sat in their cozy rooms at Abuja and were collecting bribes in dollars to lend a voice to the removal of such an extraordinary patriot and Nigerian soldier. Nigerians, the world hail thee!

Abe is former public relations officer, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

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