By Tobias Legnan Dapam
The Nigerian Security Watch Forum (NSWF) yesterday described the call for the sack of the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Kenneth Minimah by the Northern Youths Leaders Forum (NYLF) as diversionary, misleading and aimed at derailing the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Northern Youth Leaders Forum had last week called on President Jonathan to sack Air Chief Marshal Badeh and Lt.General Minimah as part of the efforts aimed at abating the war against his government as well as achieving the war against insurgency in the country, adding that the call was the North’s minimum demand for peace to reign in Nigeria.
But in its reaction in Abuja, yesterday, the Nigeria Security Watch Forum noted that the campaign for the sack of the two top military Chiefs has nothing to do with the present war against insurgents, which the CDS and COAS are working assiduously to bring to an end.
The Forum noted that an analysis and appraisal for the call by the Northern Youth Leaders Forum showed that it has more to do with the faith and tribe of the two military Chiefs and not the interest of the North, Nigeria and Nigerians.
A statement by the National Coordinator of the forum, Abubakar Danbaki, also described the statement credited to the Northern Youth Leaders Forum in which it alleged that the CDS was supporting the unprecedented war against the North because he is not a “core” northerner as most unfortunate and totally unwarranted.
Danbaki said: “We, in the Security Watch Forum, reject the position that the era of appointing minority Northerners and Christians to fill sensitive positions meant for the North is gone and gone forever. It was not the making of General Victor Malu, Isaac Alfa, Martin Luther Agwai, Luka Yusuf among others, that they were deemed worthy of appointment as either Chief of Army Staff or as CDS.
“We also find nothing wrong in President Jonathan appointing an Ijaw man as the Chief of Army Staff. Afterall, based on his records of service, General Minimah is known to be very competent and more than qualified to lead the army.
“We also refuse to accept the position of some people that former President Olusegun Obasanjo should be held responsible for the present plight of the north. That it was President Obasanjo who reportedly started this trend when he made General Malu, Air Marshall Alfa and Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi, all minorities, as Service Chief, a policy he continued by appointing the likes of General Agwai and Late General Luka Yusuf as Chief of Army Staff.”
It is against this back drop that we call on the Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau to reject and ignore the call to continue his agitation for the removal of Air Chief Marshall Badeh and General Minimah.
This is the time for the North to remain focused on its effort at achieving Northern Unity and should therefore not allow some misguided elements to further polarise it along the lines or “core Northerners and second-class Northerners,” when it comes to appointments.