The government of President Muhammadu Buhari massively sought for votes from Nigerians during electioneering campaign in 2015 mainly on the ground that insecurity will be a thing of the past if his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is given the mandate to lead the country.
As a former Army General, many believed he would bring to bear, his military experience in the fight against insurgency in the northeast and the general insecurity across the country.
The appointment of service chiefs; Major-General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General T.Y. Buratai as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff in July 2015 raised hopes of a ‘soon-to-be” complete decimation of Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram.
Over five years down the line, the country is not only battling insurgency in the northeast but also banditry across the entire northern region and various other forms of insecurity in the entire country.
The primary responsibility of every government is the protection of lives and properties of its citizens. The administration of Buhari has not only failed in this regard but also stubbornly refused to replace those saddled with the responsibility of wiping out these criminal elements for reasons yet unknown.
While many have blamed the high spate of insecurity on the refusal of Buhari to sack the ‘incompetent’ service chiefs, let us not forget that the security chiefs have the freewill to bow out honourably by resigning their positions having failed in their respective duties.
It is only a man that lacks honour that remains where he is not wanted. How can the service chiefs perform in the face of the widespread vote-of-no-condidence passed on them by those they work for.
Many Nigerians, including socio-cultural groups such as Northern Elders Forum, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and a host of others have called on Buhari to reshuffle the entire security apparatus in the country starting with the replacement of the service chiefs.
The Senate has also asked the President to remove and replace the service chiefs on three different occasions, with the latest coming after the slaughtering of 43 farmers in the Zarbamari area of Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
Senators are representatives of the people – by implication and in reality, the whole country has rejected the service chiefs.
Under the watch of the current security chiefs, there have been the embarrassing Dapchi, and Kankara abductions, the recent slaughtering of Zarbamari farmers by Boko Haram, widespread banditry, kidnappings, and many other criminal activities across board.
Although resignation from such juicy offices seem not to be a Nigerian ‘thing’, there has never been such a united rejection of a group of individuals in the service of the country.
It is time to take the honourable option of walking away and saving the face of Buhari who is hell-bent on working with them.
But then, how honourable are these men?
Ian McEwan on page 198 of his novel, Sweet Tooth, while commenting on a matter that would bring disrepute to the personality of a character, wrote, “… this will be the one act you’ll be remembered for. Everything else you achieved will be irrelevant. Your reputation will rest only on this, because ultimately reality is social, it’s among others that we have to live and their judgements matter.”
The service chiefs should take the honourable part of resigning their positions because they have not just woefully failed in their duty to protect lives and properties, but have also been rejected by the people they serve.