Even in peace time, President Buhari’s service chiefs are due for retirement, by virtue of their attaining the maximum years of service.
In times of crisis like this, their position become conditioned on their success and failure in tackling the insurgency.
I have nothing personal against the present military leadership. If I were in their position and faced with the challenges they are facing, I would resign for my failure or inability to produce the desired result.
It is leadership 101. You retain and fire appointees based on their performance and the alternatives at hand. Is the performance of the present service chiefs worthy of their continuous stay in office?
Is there a paucity of qualified hands within the armed forces that we cannot do without the present leadership?
The answer to all these is no! Then why has the president refused to act even in the face of unacceptable setbacks in the fight against terrorism?
The problem is Mr. President‘s own instinct. He wrongly believe that young officers are ambitious and promoting them to a position of higher responsibility was what fueled the 1985 coup against him. He’s haunted by that experience ever since.
At the eve of last year’s elections, he made similar remarks that young officers are too ambitious and cannot be trusted, preferring instead to stick with the current leadership even when they have proved to be incapable time and again.
This is both wrong and unfair. Wrong in that it is not backed by any logic, and unfair because it puts regime survivability above national stability. If a leader puts his own survival above that of the country, he risks losing the latter (without a country, there is nothing to preside over).
There’s nothing that can be said about the ongoing insurgency that has not been said, to the extent that repeating them appear more like a ritual: that our entire approach is not strategically well grounded, that our failure to respond to developments in Libya and across the Sahel strengthen terror groups, that our neighbors and other international actors understand only strength and deterrence and not the sentimental illusion of neighborly solidarity, that the insurgency has created a war economy of local actors, security agents, arm smugglers and humanitarian groups, that corruption within the military has rendered our armed forces ill-equipped, under-funded and poorly motivated.
All the above pleas failed on deaf ears. Instead of opening more routes and connecting more communities, today, the only safe passage linking Maiduguri to the outside world is no longer safe as Boko Haram campaign of terror runs amok.
Instead of taking the fight to Boko Haram, flushing them out of their safe havens and denying them any hiding place, our troops are largely on the defensive repelling one terror raid or the other.
Nigerians are tired of excuses, lame excuses! That’s exactly why they decided to put their fate in the hands of a man they trust could protect them. It will take a great deal more than routine press releases and presidential declarations to convince Nigerians (especially people from Borno and Yobe) that Boko Haram is technically defeated or the present surge in attacks is merely the kick of a dying house. It is déjà vu all over again!
By Ahmed Musa Hussaini