Reactions from the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria have continued to trail the recent appointment of new Service Chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The new service chiefs in charge of the Army, Navy, Air Force as well as the Chief of Defence Staff were announced immediately after their predecessors reportedly dropped their letters of retirement.
Before now, the Igbo of the South East had been complaining of non inclusion in the leadership of the various security outfits of the nation and they looked forward to having one of their own appointed as a service chief. Now, in the new dispensation, broad sections of Igbo society are claiming non-representation in the appointments.
However, some observers point to the fact that the new Chief of Defence Staff, Major Gen. Leo Irabor who hails from Delta State is of Igbo extraction. These observers conclude that even if General Irabor is not from the South East zone, he is an Igbo man.
However, an Igbo group called Voice from the East, has countered this line of thinking. In a statement signed by the Convener of the group, Comrade Kindness Jonah in Enugu, Voice from the East claimed:
“Buhari has remained his old self in his Igbophobic disposition. If he had wanted to appoint an Igbo, why did he not appoint a mainstream Igbo being as it were, that some Ika deny being Igbo and in this case, Irabor is said to be a Muslim convert, who built the largest mosque in Agbor and is married to a Fulani from Katsina State? So, invariably, Igbos have remained sidelined in the scheme of things.”
Meanwhile, the Anambra State chapter of Civil Liberties Organization ,CLO, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing new service chiefs to oversee the security of the country.
The chairman of the organization in Anambra, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme gave the commendation in Enugu.
Ezekwueme noted that the appointment of new service chiefs were overdue but were “a step in the right direction.”
He said: “It is also in tandem with aspirations of Nigerians. I commend President Buhari for listening to the cries and demands for appointment of new service chiefs.
“There is no doubt that the new service chiefs will inject new ideas, energy, zeal and patriotism to improve the security architecture of the country.’’
The CLO boss called on the new service chiefs to device a strategic plan to tame and decimate the activities of Boko Haram, kidnappers and insurgents.
“Doing this will definitely restore absolute peace and tranquility in the country,’’ he observed.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved the appointments of Maj.Gen. Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Maj.Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A. Z. Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff and AVM I.O. Amao, Chief of Air Staff following the retirement of their predecessors.