The House of Representatives has screened the new service chiefs. The exercise was conducted behind closed doors after a brief opening session.
Before the session went behind closed doors, some of the service chiefs reeled out some of their plans for the Armed Forces.
The Chief of Defence Staff designate, Major General Lucky Irabor, said, “If confirmed, my intention is to foster a better Armed Forces that is capable of making effectively, the imperatives of the Constitution. By so doing, I intend to have some pillars that are allied to this broad focus of leadership. This may not come out as a vision because I believe that visions are meant for institutions and not individuals.
“As a military commander, I intend to have leadership focus in outlining the broad areas. To this, I intend to build a very professional Armed Forces that is effective, agile, result-oriented and of course, one that is loyal to constituted authority.”
Also, the Chief of Army Staff designate, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, said, “I will provide the right leadership for the Nigerian Army in this trying time of our nation’s history. Our best will be hinged on my command philosophy. I want a Nigerian Army that is professionally repositioned to defeat all adversaries in a giant environment.
“The Armed Forces will work in a societal approach where every Nigerian will be part of the security architecture to bring an end to our current security challenges. The vision is embedded in the command philosophy, buy on specific pillars such as readiness, the duty to country, dependability and continuous leadership development.
“For particular emphasis, mission readiness, training, functional manning and equipment, loyalty and sacrifice to the fatherland and continuous leadership development. We will build an Army that will be innovative in the 21st Century.”
Earlier in his opening address, Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, noted that while the House intends to ensure that the government lives up to this noble creed, it plans to “engage robustly but also constructively with the nominees.”
Benson said, “The essence of the framers of our Constitution requiring the service chiefs to be confirmed by the National Assembly is to reiterate the supremacy of civil authority over the military in a constitutional democracy. We shall, therefore, take our role very seriously and we intend to discharge our responsibilities diligently on behalf of Nigerians.
“Nigeria as a country is blessed with brave and gallant soldiers; many of whom have paid the ultimate price in service to the country. It is to their memories that we must get it right with our National Security and help secure the peace for which they gave their lives.
“From the inception of this 9th House of Representatives, national security has been discussed more than 200 times at plenary. Yet, the nation is still grappling with diverse and increasing security challenges, despite some successes recorded by the gallant men and women of our Armed Forces. While I appreciate there is no single magic solution, I believe the kind of leadership provided to our Armed Forces is part of the solution mix.”
The lawmaker, before the session went behind closed doors, stated that the nominees would be grilled based on professional skill and experience; Nigeria’s war on terror and insurgency and insecurity in general; funding of the military; strategic security knowledge and vision of the nominees; and welfare of military personnel.
They are Maj. Gen. Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea lrabor – Chief of Defence Staff; Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru – Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo – Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Isiaka O. Amao – Chief of Air staff.
They are to replace the former Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, had on Wednesday last week read a letter from the President, Muhammadu Buhari seeking the confirmation of the new service chiefs.
Buhari’s letter was dated January 27, 2021, while the stamp on the acknowledgement copy indicated that it was received on February 5, 2021.
Gbajabiamila later constituted a panel made up of chairmen, deputy chairmen and some members of the military-related standing committees, to be led by Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Mr Babajimi Benson.