President Muhammadu Buhari’s current slow approach to governance is affecting the prosecution of the war against extremist group, Boko Haram, in the north east, findings by PREMIUM TIMES have shown.
Officials in the administration and some retired security and military experts who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES, expressed the view that the decision by the president to allow uncertainty surround the tenures of the service chiefs and the National Security Adviser he inherited from the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is greatly affecting the war.
“Service Chiefs are currently sitting at the edge of their seats; there is a regime of uncertainty because it was clear to them and everyone that they would not be part of the new administration, as such, they presently do not go the extra mile,” one official said.
We also gathered at the Defence Headquarters that there is presently no long term commitment on the part of the Service Chiefs and other top commanders, owing largely, to the uncertainty regarding their tenure.
“All the Service Chiefs have cleared their desks including the NSA, and each day, they expect to receive the news of their sack, in that case, how do you expect someone to be in the right frame to prosecute a war as complex as the one against Boko Haram who use civilian targets as shield,” he said.
Our source added that the Service Chiefs are presently hardly taking any decision on the war and security matters.
“They are often only called in to be given directive to carry out, the president is the one in charge,” he said.
“Take for example the decision to remove military checkpoints; an order was simply given without recourse to brainstorming on the issue,” he said.
Another retired army general, who also asked not to be named for “personal reasons” said other high ranking military officers, sensing the insecurity on the part of the service chiefs have begun to show signs of indiscipline.
He said top commanders are unable to enforce discipline at present because “everyone knows that the leadership are living on borrowed time, and so, hardly carry out directives”.
Our source added that the tenure of Service Chiefs is usually two years and the current chiefs were appointed in January 2014, as such, they know sack or not, they would leave by January 2016.
“I know that what is agitating the minds of our chiefs at present is planning their post retirement life and not any long term plan to prosecute a war
“What I would advise the president is to allow them leave, so that he, himself would be focused with a fresh team he personally put in place, the earlier we do this, the better for us as a nation,” the source said.
Just like what obtains at present in the military, this newspaper had reported recently how the delay by Mr. Buhari to make key appointments more than three weeks after assumption of office was taking a serious toll on government businesses.
We reported that the president’s delay in filling important government positions, especially the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was hurting the smooth running of government businesses.
PREMIUM TIMES investigations revealed that the day to day operations of the different ministries, departments and agencies have been weakened, while coordination of important government policies and programmes has become a mess.
“The country can ill-afford further delay by the president to make these vital appointments,” a federal permanent secretary said on Wednesday. “From the presidency to the ministries, departments and agencies, everything has come to virtual standstill.”
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