NIGERIA – The Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, CNEPD, has noted with concern the exclusion of the South East from the appointment of new Service Chiefs.
The elders observed that the exclusion of the region was contrary to the unity and oneness of the country’s founding fathers.
The group, however, expressed delight with the sacking of service Chiefs and appointment of new ones by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group in a statement by its National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, enjoined the President to quickly balance the equation by reviewing the appointments to reflect the nation’s federal character principle.
According to the statement, it is when the President reviews the appointment of the service Chiefs that it would reflect fairness and equity in the country.
The statement stated, “We completely throw our weight behind Ohanaeze Ndigbo on their position over the appointments of the new service chiefs.
“We vehemently appeal to Mr President for a review of the appointments to accommodate our Igbo brothers from the South East region in line with the federal character principle of the country.
“We are absolutely sure that taking this action will make the designers of our country happy where they are watching.”
Following the worsening insecurity in parts of the country which the group had suggested for the sack of the service Chiefs and overdue tenure with perceived low morale, the group thanked President Buhari for eventually taking action by relieving the service Chiefs of their appointments.
The elders explained that they received with great excitement the news about the sacking of the former service chiefs of the country by Mr President, adding that it is quite commendable that the President finally listened to the clarion call by Nigerians to that effect.
The statement noted that the composition of the service chiefs greeted them with mixed feelings and sincere concerns, stressing their belief that the list is deficient.
“We strongly believe that the list is not fair as it is lacking in fairness, justice, and equity to the south easterners.”
The elders said they had hoped that by now, the president would have learned some lessons that the Igbos are also Nigerians and deserve to be fairly and godly treated.
The elders asked, “How can there be an appointment of two sets of service chiefs without any Igbo person among them? Is this fair? What exactly has the Igbo people done to deserve this kind of unfair treatment?”
The group observed that their careful checks revealed that Igbos have senior and very qualified military officers in the Navy, Army, and Airforce who are serving faithfully in their various capacities! asking what their sin is?
They stated clearly that the appointment of service chiefs is the prerogative of the president as he can choose to appoint anyone from any zone, asking what made the other geo-political zone more important than the South East?
The Northern elders called on Ndigbo to remain calm and continue their unalloyed support to the Buhari’s administration, saying the development should not shirk their beliefs in the Nigeria project as according to them, the situation would be remedied.