This is a blog about social issues, be they political, economic, religious or cultural . It aims to create awareness especially on those issues that the mainstream media will ignore, and will provide useful insights on how to produce a better society. All views expressed are strictly personal.
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
(37): Open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan
I hope this letter
reaches you in the best position of health and wellbeing, and I do hope you
will find the time to go through the content of this letter. I feel duty bound
as an ordinary citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to draw your
attention to some of the critical decisions that your government has taken.
These decisions are very critical and could determine the stability of our
country. I am aware that you have advisors who have the responsibility to guide
you in taking decisions, because as the leader of the country you will have to
rely on the expertise of these advisors before you take a final position on
issues. But I am also aware that a lot of government appointees are more
interested in advancing their personal interest rather than guiding the
president in the right direction.
Mr President, after the
unfortunate church bombings in Jaji, the Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola
Saad Ibrahim ordered the removal of two senior Army officers from their
respective positions in Jaji. The senior officers are, Air Vice Marshal
Abdullahi Kure and Major General Muhammad D Isa. As the president and Commander
in Chief of the Nigerian Armed forces, I am sure you will agree that this
critical decision cannot be taken without your consent. I also believe that you
must have acted on the counsel of some of your advisors, but whether this is
the right advice is an issue that you need to find time and think about. But
the most important thing is the implication of this rushed decision which I
would like to highlight.
First of all, the two
senior officers were removed from their positions without proper investigation
being completed. Professionally, there is need for caution in handling matters
like this especially in a country like Nigeria where religion, ethnicity, and
regionalism constitute an unwritten form of constitution, and whatever the
circumstance, a leader has to take this into consideration if he is to maintain
the unity and peace of the country.
Secondly, all the
officers that were removed are Muslims, and immediately replaced by non Muslim
officers. If you feel strongly, that these senior military officers have to be
redeployed from their positions, you have the right to take action as the
commander in chief; but looking at the security situation in Nigeria, and the
division and lack of unity since the controversial 2011 general elections, you
need to be cautious by replacing them with Muslim officers, that may douse the
tension such action might generate; at least there should be enough Muslim Army
Generals of the same calibre with an unquestionable loyalty to their country.
Thirdly, by replacing
them with Christian officers under the current security climate, and if we are
to believe newspaper reports that the entire control of Jaji is now in the
hands of Christian officers after the redeployment of Air Vice Marshal Kure and
Major General Isa, be rest assured that such a move will cause rancour and ill
feeling especially from religious leaders, as it will definitely be seen as an
attempt to use divide and rule tactics in favour of one religion over the
Mr President, beyond
the points I have raised, my main concern in writing this letter is actually
the wider implication this move could have on the stability of the Nigerian
Army. The military institution in Nigeria is in my opinion the most
professional, disciplined, and the fit for purpose institution in the country.
As imperfect as the army may be, the brave Nigerian soldiers have stood for the
country in the most difficult circumstances. They fought a bitter civil war to
keep the country united; they have extended their professionalism in brining stability
to foreign countries like Congo in the 1950s, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the
1990s, and are currently serving in the region of Darfur in Sudan aimed at
bringing stability. But their most important contribution recently, is staying
away from politics since the return of civilian rule in 1999, and even at the
time when cynics thought they could truncate our democracy when president
‘Yaraduwa was sick, they worked hard to remain in the barracks, which enabled
you to become Acting President and later President and Commander in Chief of
the Armed Forces. The composition of the military command at the time,
comprising of both Muslim and Christian officers working together must have
contributed greatly in stabilising the polity; and I believe you can learn a
lesson from that.
Finally, Mr President I
advise you to avoid anything that will divide the Nigerian Army under whatever
circumstance, because the implication of that will not be good for our country.
I strongly recommend that you create time to read more about the political
history of Nigeria especially between 1960 and 1970, and try to learn the
lessons of what disunity in the Army could cause the country. I also advise
that you consult widely with former Nigerian leaders and senior military
officers who are still alive on issues related to the military, as they have
the experience that current members of the armed forces may not have.
God bless Nigeria. Long
Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria