From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Coalition of Nigeria Professionals for Peace and Good Governance (CNPPGG) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the appointment of Service Chiefs in order to favour the South-East region.
The group further advised the leadership of the National Assembly to invoke the principles of the federal character during the screening and confirmation of the Service Chiefs, to compel President Buhari to do the needful.
In a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Prof Abiola Odukoya and the National Secretary, Dr Andy Ifeanyi, they said as representatives of over 200 million Nigerians, posterity will be kind to them, if they drew President’s attention to the fact that a major ethnic bloc had consistently been shut out in the service and security chiefs’ equation.
They, however, hailed the President Buhari for appointing Major-General Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), adding that the security officer will facilitate better coordination of the Service Chiefs, giving his operational and command capabilities that had won him many military laurels in the past.
The statement read: ‘We hasten to commend our amiable and progressive President, Muhammadu Buhari, for the careful selection and eventual appointment of the new set of Service Chiefs, who are coming at a time the security situation in the country is alarming.
‘As professionals in our various fields of endeavours, we note with satisfaction, the choice of Major General Lucky Irabor, to lead the Service Chiefs in his capacity as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
‘We are confident that General Irabor, having been commander, Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), as well as commander of the multinational joint task force (MNJTF) – all within the troubled North East general area – knows where to hit the terrorist elements the hardest.
‘However, considering our pan-Nigerian outlook, we are inclined to the appeal by South East stakeholders, led by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, for the review of the less- than-a-month-old appointment of Service Chiefs.
‘President Buhari will earn himself a prominent place in history, if he gave a passionate thought to the calls for the inclusion of a senior Igbo officer in the team, which we hope will deliver the goods.
‘He must resist ill-advice from certain mischievous individuals and groups, who often cast the Igbo nation in bad light, leading systematic exclusion which, to all intent and purpose, is unacceptable.
‘In the event that our dear President remains adamant, we invite our Senators and Representatives to note this anomaly, and insist on its correction, before screening and confirmation actions are taken on the list of Service Chiefs forwarded for that purpose.
‘As representatives of the people, they must, at all material times, uphold the sanctity of federal character principle, which invokes proportional representation in public governance process.
‘While appreciating the fact that all ethnic groups cannot be appointed at the same time, we remind the President that among the comity of major ones, only Igbo has failed to gain his favour.’