THE 43-day waiting game for the Service Chiefs and National Security Adviser (NSA) who served under President Goodluck Jonathan ended yesterday when President Muhammadu Buhari relieved them of their appointments and appointed new ones.
While the appointments will be in acting capacity until confirmed by the Senate, the non-appointment of his own ministers and Service Chiefs had been interpreted in some quarters as signifying not-so-sure footedness by the President.
The Nigerian Army Act 2004 provides that Service Chiefs should be confirmed by the Senate. It does not say the Chief of Defence Staff should be included.
And seemingly unaware of his impending removal, the former Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah had, the same yesterday, listed as his greatest achievement the dislocating of the Boko Haram insurgents to pave way for peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections.
Under the new dispensation as was made public by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement yesterday, Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin was named the new Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS) replacing Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh; Major-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, replacing Minimah; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, replacing Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin.
Also named were, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff, replacing Air Marshal Adesola Amosu; Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan, Chief of Defence Intelligence and Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd)National Security Adviser, taking over from Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
Olonishakin (N/6901) hails from Ekiti State and was the Head of the Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command in Minna, Niger State.
Buratai, who hails from Borno State, was until his new appointment, the Commander of the Multinational Joint Task Force which has its headquarters in Ndjamena.
He had previously served as Commander of the Nigerian Army’s 2nd Brigade in Port Harcourt and Commander of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry in Jaji, Kaduna State.
Ibas, (NN/0746) from Cross River State, enlisted into the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the 26th Regular Course in 1979 and was commissioned as a Sub-Lieutenant in 1983. His previous appointments include: Naval Provost Marshal, Chief Staff Officer, Naval Training Command, Chief of Administration, Naval Headquarters, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command and Chief of Logistics, Naval Headquarters. Until his appointment as Chief of Naval Staff, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Navy Holdings Limited.
Abubakar (NAF/1433) hails from Bauchi State. His previous appointments include Chief of Standards and Evaluation, NAF Headquarters; Chief of Defence Communications and Air Officer Commanding, NAF Training Command. Until his new appointment yesterday as Chief of Air Staff, he was the Chief of Administration, NAF Headquarters.
Monguno was a one-time Commander of the Brigade of Guards, before he voluntarily retired on September 23, 2013, after attaining the ceiling age of 56 years.
The statement said the new Service Chiefs will hold their appointments in an acting capacity until confirmed by the Senate.
Buhari thanked the outgoing Service Chiefs and NSA for their services to the nation and wishes them well in their future endeavours.
Meanwhile, Minimah while opening what turned out to be his last COAS Second Quarter Conference, had said the dislocation and degradation of Boko Haram was one of his achievements.
He also said the renewed insurgents’ attacks notwithstanding, the military would seek ways to adequately confront the new tactics adopted by the terrorists in recent weeks so as to prepare for the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.