Ex Service Chiefs,Tukur:President Jonathan’s strategic moves,By Danlami Nmodu



Jonathan 200.jpg 600Two landmark events occurred three weeks or so ago that gave an indication that President Goodluck Jonathan would no longer take his regime security lightly :One was the massive shakeup of the military top brass.
Like a bolt from the blue, service chiefs were dropped and new ones appointed.That singular move earned the president a lot of plaudits from those who had hitherto seen him as too gentle on his military chiefs. That sudden move left many wondering what was responsible for this sudden move after what seemed like a presidential lack of interest in how they ran their affairs.Or at least that was the impression some of us outsiders got
But at the commissioning of the Air Force Comprehensive School in Yola, Adamawa State, last week,gave a greater window into why he had to sack his ex chiefs.He said inter agency rivalry had become a cog in the wheel of progress.He was particularly furious about the security lapses that led the successful attacks by militants destroying five helicopter.And naturally, he cautioned the new chiefs against unnecessary competition
The president gave a window into his thoughts and it’s import to recall reports of the president’s speech in Yola copiously here for emphasis:
“We will work with them to make sure that we overcome these challenges. One of the reasons that made me to uplift the present chief of defence staff from the chief of air staff is that I noted very carefully in terms of managing resources, he tried.”
“And I believe that with him now taking charge as the chief of defence staff, working with other men that have been properly briefed about how they conduct their work, I know that the Nigerian armed forces will be a different armed forces.”
“I urge you to cooperate. Sometimes we use to hear some kind of mutual and individual competition among service chiefs and security personnel. But this time around, we will not tolerate any unnecessary competition that will bring retrogression to this country.”
“We charge you to work together because our country is exposed to cancer and I told the former chief of defence staff when I came back from meeting in France, that was the time they attacked our five helicopters and a journalist ask me, Mr. President is it not shameful? And I asked him, If you were me, how will you have felt? And I believed we will no longer experience that kind of situation. That happened because of some obvious lapses.”
“We will make sure we work with the national assembly, we will work with the service chiefs and other senior military personnel, we will work with our traditional rulers and governors and senior citizens to see that we move our country to next level.”Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh,used the occasion to assure the president of a more focused battle against insurgency
It must still be asked why did the president wait for so long ,allowing the rivalries or competitions among the former chiefs to diminish the rating of his regime in the eyes of Nigerians?In fact, many thought that General Ihejirika should have gone much earlier.Though there was really no evidence, there were several rumours about some military politics going on so much so that people wondered why the president was preserving him.At some point it was argued that it was ,as most Nigerian do, that perhaps Ihejirika was being kept for a special assignment in 2015.
And to those who had the 2015 line of argument, the sudden sack of Ihejirika and other was a truly presidential move.But why so late, it seems the president tarried for a little too long.Maybe better late than never?
The same day, another miracle of Abuja of some sort happened as the era of embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party ,PDP ,Alhaji Bamanga Tukur came to an end.It was President Jonathan who announced that Tukur had thrown in the towel .The expected resignation of Tukur had been long in the air.Still it seemed even the president was not ready to force him out.
Yet,demand for Tukur’s ouster had been one of key reasons for the split in PDP .Actually the former chairman did not carry all along.worse still, he was a chairman who presided over the suspension of a governor from a key oil producing state:Rivers.The suspension of Rotimi Amaechi ,whatever his ‘sin’ was a strategic blunder.Every ruling party in Nigeria’s history has always sought to keep Kano,Port Harcour t and they have repeatedly tried to see how to make inroads into Lagos.Yet here was Tukur’s PDP pushing Amaechi away.It is easy to say he was doing the bidding of President Goodluck Jonathan.But an elder’s role is to tell the younger one the bitter truth.The party should have sought alternative ways of resolving the Amaechi-Jonathan row with this peculiar mess staring the nation in the face.Tukur cannot wash his hand off this as history will continue to ask questions about his role .
In any case, these two sets of removal of key actors(military chiefs and Bamanga) were strategic ally important moves that Jonathan need to make.And as soon as the announcements were made, it seem like the president was indeed ready to hit the ground running, literally in the much expected race towards 2015.Sadly though , they were moves expected long before now.The fact that they were delayed gave the president away as one who could not act swiftly.
The positive side of the two moves the president made after the sack of the military chiefs and Tukur cast him in the image of a strong leader with a new bounce.First, he went to Kebbi state and announce a N14billion support for agricultural programme.Two, last week’s visit to Adamawa state, controlled by Governor Murtal Nyako may be a proof that a politican can often make unexpected moves.Officially we know he went to commission a military project.But who knows the massive opportunity it turned out to be for the president had to discuss with politicians in this ‘opposition zone’.
(NB: It must be noted that Jonathan has surprisingly denied ever accusing the ex chiefs of unhealthy rivalry or competition but , newspaper reports attest to the validity of the quotes)
Article published earlier in The Union.email:[email protected]

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