March 3, 2021

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Armed Forces Day: nothing to celebrate with worsening insecurity, ‘Elders’ tell Buhari

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By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

Nigerian elders under the auspices of the Coalition of Patriotic Nigeria Elders (COPANE), has said there was nothing to celebrate in this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, following the failure of President Muhamadu Buhari, to address the problems confronting members of the Armed Forces, especially troops in the frontline.

They insisted that the best way to have celebrated the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day would have been to sack the Service Chiefs and rejig the entire security architecture over the “worsening insecurity in the country”.

The elders in a statement, Saturday, vowed to begin massive mobilisation of Nigerians against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) if it fails to immediately prevail on the president to act swiftly on the restructuring of security architecture to save the country of further misfortunes.

The statement was signed by the group’s National Coordinator, Prof. Habu Usman Galadima, National Secretary, Dr (Mrs) Grace Onanefe and Legal Adviser, Barr. Muhammad Ibrahim Postiskum, respectively.

The group observed that “the inability of pigeons to fly having been released to that effect by President Buhari during an event held yesterday in Abuja to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, was a strong indication that Nigeria was not at peace.”

According to the statement, “while we celebrate and pray for our heroes past who had served our dear country and paid the ultimate price as members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, we wish to state that there is nothing to celebrate in this year Armed Forces Remembrance Day because of the inability of Mr President to address the numerous problems confronting members of the Armed Forces alive, especially those in the frontlines.

“We observe with regret that the long and unnecessary tenure of the current service chiefs has not only affected career progression, in the Armed Forces of Nigeria today but also resulted in low morale among officers and men of the services besides other forms of setbacks. This is unconstitutional.

“The best gift Nigerians were expecting at this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day was the sack of all the Service Chiefs, followed with the appointment of younger officers with zeal and commitment to end this war,” they said in the statement.

The elders faulted the President’s speech at the event, nor noting that it failed to address insecurity threatening the country.

“We make bold to say that Nigerians were not interested in the president’s speech today because it does not address their yearnings which is the long-overdue sack of the nation’s Service Chiefs.

Proherbarium

“The arguments by some selfish persons around Mr President that he should not change the guard during the war is the most irresponsible, misplaced, selfish and unprofessional arguments.

According to the group, that is a quack’s advice because you can’t do the same thing for five years and keep getting the same dismal results, yet, keep on as if all is well.”

In the statement, the elders argued:”Secondly, what if this current service chief are the reason why the war has refused to end?”

READ ALSO: Armed Forces Day: Obaseki pays respect to fallen heroes

They faulted the president for maintaining an adamant posture in the face of various calls for the sack of the security heads and their subsequent replacement with new hands.

“It is an illusion for the president to think that he is wiser than all Nigerians in terms of security. Nobody knows it all,” they said.

“The Nigerians who are asking you to sack the Service Chiefs and restructure the security architecture are the same Nigerians that voted for you in 2015 and 2019 and maybe still be the ones to vote for your candidate and party come 2023, hence it’s dangerous to ignore them.

“The refusal of pigeons which are symbols of peace to fly during the ceremony to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Abuja is a bad omen for your administration”.

According to them,” It goes to show that Nigeria is not peaceful yet. It also shows that God may be angry with this administration on the way it is handling the issue of peace and security in this country.”

“Pigeons, though are birds but they possess some spiritual elements that deliver critical updates on human lives. So, their deliberate refusal to fly was a huge sign that the right things are not being done by you in terms of peace and security.

“As elders, we are aware that several eminent Nigerians have appealed to the president both publicly and privately several times to relieve the service chiefs of their positions in the face of the dwindling security problems in the country”, the elders regretted that “yet, all have fallen on deaf ears.”

” We, however, wish to remind Mr. President that we are still in a constitutional democracy where the people’s voice is the ultimate. To this end, it is our humble appeal that Mr President listens to the voice of people by not only relieving the Service Chiefs of their positions but also restructure the entire security architecture without further delay.”