BY MUSA ILALLAH
Mischievously and shamelessly too, Osita Benjamin Chidoka, former Aviation Minister was recently on air saying that former President Buhari has ‘ruined security architecture through nepotism’. What else could be further from the truth.
According to Osita Chidoka, former President Muhammadu Buhari caused a massive breakdown of security architecture in Nigeria through nepotistic appointment of service chiefs.
Though not holding brief for the former President, my conclusion is that PMB has done more in securing this country than any of the former 3 PDP Presidents the country had since our return to democracy on 29th May, 1999.
A careful look at PMB’s appointments of top military heads otherwise called service chiefs, shows that there couldn’t have been more balanced security service chiefs team than what PMB had done in his 8 years of service to the country.
As a keen observer of political events in the country, i strongly believe that PMB has outshined his predecessors in office in terms of appointing well qualified service chiefs and improved funding for the military and other security agencies in the areas of welfare of officers and men and equipment purchase to deal with various security challenges across the country.
My worry about Chidoka’s unfair hard knock on PMB on nepotism is the fact that he doesn’t in all sense stand in a vantaged position to accuse PMB of being nepotistic. If there is one person who is a number one beneficiary of nepotism in this country since 1999, it is no one but Chidoka himself.
From 35 years of age, Chidoka was at different times appointed personal assistant to 2 ministers of Igbo extraction for Works and Housing and also Transportation. He also served as special assistant to Special Adviser legal of igbo extraction to a former President. Chidoka warmed his way to become the Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC because of his strong ties to Igbo nepotism beating other highly qualified Nigerians from other parts of the country.
I strongly believe that former President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments of service chiefs and other security heads were never lopsided and were never done using region, religion or tribe as a yardstick.
PMB in 2015 inherited Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh as Chief of Defence Staff; Lt General Kenneth Minimah, Chief of Army Staff; Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, Chief of Air Staff and Admiral Jibrin Usman, Chief of Naval Staff as service chiefs.
To demonstrate his desire to enforce his campaign promise, PMB directed the relocation of the armed forces command and control centre in Abuja to Maiduguri in order to give the fight on terrorism the ‘teeth’ to fight terrorism very well.
In July 2015, PMB chose a set of the country’s service chiefs, which included Major General Abayomi Gabriel, Chief of Defence staff; Major General TY Buratai, Chief of Army staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwu, Chief of Naval Staff; AVM Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff; AVM Monday Riku Morgan, Chief of Defence intelligence and Major General Babagana Monguno as NSA.
It will be recalled that at the inaugural meeting with the service chiefs, PMB was very emphatic in dismissing accusations that his appointments were nepotistic. He told the service chiefs that he considered ‘merit and track records’ in appointing them.
Said he: “Your records recommended you. Save for the new COAS whom I met briefly at his command at Multi National joint task force in Chad, I dont know any of you.” He further advised them to give responsibilities to trusted hands while charging them to be loyal and patriotic to the country.
It was only in 2021 that PMB dropped his service chiefs and appointed new ones without any form of tribal, regional or religious biases. The service chiefs were Major General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence staff; Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army staff; Rear Admiral AZ Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff and AVM IO Amao, chief of Air Staff.
With only two strategic military appointments of service chiefs in 8 years, one begins to wonder how PMB will be accused of nepotism in his appointments.
Only the likes of Chidoka will cry wolf where there is none. Shamelessly. Chidoka was a classic example of nepotism. Even his accelerated rise to become Minister of Aviation in 2014 was through the strings of nepotism and nothing more.
Indeed Chidoka has joined the bandwagon of selfish Nigerians who shout nepotism against PMB in order to reap where they didn’t sow. May be he is planning some nepotistic games. For sure time will tell why he has woken up from slumber and is shouting nepotism pened up now that we have a new administration in place.
PBAT be ware of opportunists parading themselves as lovers of Nigeria and those who will fit into his ‘renewed hope’ agenda.