Molly Kilete, Abuja
As the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government winds down, there are indications that new service chiefs may soon be appointed.
Buhari will take oath of office on May 29 for a second term, having won the February 23 presidential election.
Daily Sun gathered that the series of meeting President Buhari has been holding with service chief are part of the process for their eventual retirement and exit from office, which is expected either before the end of the current tenure or after the May 29 inauguration.
The current service chiefs to be affected are Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Etete-Ibas and the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), AVM Sadique Abubakar. They were appointed in 2015.
A source at the Defence Headquarters told Daily Sun that the service chiefs, whose tenure President Buhari extended severally, are aware that they could be replaced any time and have thus prepared handover notes.
It was gathered that officers who would be considered as new service chiefs have already been penciled down and being screened without their knowledge.
Sources revealed that the North East, North-West, South West and South East are featuring in the consideration for officers to fill the service chiefs’ positions.
It was also gathered that two out of the four outgoing service chiefs may be appointed as DCS, to save the military from massive retirement that would come if all service chiefs are replaced with new officers.
The non-retirement of the current service chief have led to the disengagement of several senior officers in the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force.
Sources said officers of either 36 or 37 Regular Course are favourites in the consideration.
The implication, however, is that this will cause the retirement of officers of Regular courses 35, 34, 33, 32, 31, and 30.