From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Coalition of Patriotic Nigerian Elders, (COPANE), have said Nigerians do not have anything to celebrate the Armed Forces Remembrance Day because of the worsening security situation in the country.
This is even as it advised the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs or that it should forget about the 2023 general poll.
COPANE National Coordinator, Professor Habu Galadima, National Secretary, Grace Onanefe and Legal Adviser, Muhammad Ibrahim, in a statement Saturday, vowed to stage a campaign against APC ahead of 2023.
Professor Galadima argued that the best way the country would have marked the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day was for President Buhari to sack the current security heads in order to give way for junior military officers to grow in their career.
“While we celebrate and pray for our heroes past who had served our dear country and paid the ultimate price as members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, we wish to state that there is nothing to celebrate in this year Armed Forces Remembrance Day because of the inability of Mr President to address the numerous problems confronting members of the Armed Forces alive, especially those in the frontlines.
“We observe with regret that the long and unnecessary tenure of the current service chiefs has not only affected career progression, in the Armed Forces of Nigeria today but also resulted in low morale among officers and men of the services besides other forms of setbacks. This is unconstitutional.
“The best gift Nigerians were expecting at this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day was the sack of all the service chiefs, followed with the appointment of younger officers with zeal and commitment to end this war.
“We make bold to say that Nigerians were not interested in the president’s speech today because it does not address their yearnings which is the long overdue sack of the nation’s service chiefs.
“The arguments by some selfish persons around Mr President that he should not change the guard during war is the most irresponsible, misplaced, selfish and unprofessional arguments.
“That is a quack’s advice because you can’t do same thing for five years and keep getting same dismal results, yet, keep on as if all is well.
“Secondly, what if this current service chiefs are the reason why the war has refused to end?
“It is an illusion for the president to think that he is wiser than all Nigerians in terms of security. Nobody knows it all.
“The Nigerians who are asking you to sack the service chiefs and restructure the security architecture are the same Nigerians that voted for you in 2015 and 2019 and maybe still be the once to vote for your candidate and party come 2023, hence it’s dangerous to ignore them.
“The refusal of pigeons which are symbols of peace to fly during the ceremony to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Abuja, is a bad omen for your administration.
“It goes to show that Nigeria is not peaceful yet. It also shows that God may be angry with this administration on the way it is handling issue of peace and security in this country.
“Pigeons, though are birds but they posses some spiritual elements that deliver critical updates on human lives. So, their deliberate refusal to fly was a huge sign that right things are not being done by you in terms of peace and security.
“As elders, we are aware that several eminent Nigerians have appealed to the president both publicly and privately several times to relieve the service chiefs of their positions in the face of the dwindling security problems in the country yet,all have fallen on deaf ears.
“We, however, wish to remind Mr President that we are still in a constitutional democracy where the people’s voice is the ultimate. To this end, it is our humble appeal that Mr President listens to the voice of people by not only relieving the service chiefs of their positions but also restructure the entire security architecture without further delay,” Prof Galadima said.