For the umpteenth time, President Muhammadu Buhari has sidelined the South East region in the appointment of service chiefs.
In the recent exercise, Buhari replaced the service chiefs after many months of clamour without any officer from the South East geographical zone in the equation.
The new service chiefs as announced by Buhari included Maj. Gen Leo Irabor, as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral A.Z. Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff and Air Vice Marshal I.O. Amao, as the Chief of Air Staff.
However their appointments have attracted sharp reactions from a cross section of Igbo people, who saw it as a demonstration of Buhari’s deep hatred for Igbo man.
A retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, who spoke anonymously, said that Ndigbo did not expect anything less from the Buhari administration.
He said, “It would have been a miracle if Buhari had done anything else. I have lost interest in Buhari. He hates Ndigbo with a passion and he always robs it in. My problem with our people is that they have failed to realize this.
It was also the contention of others that Buhari’s marginalization of Ndigbo in key appointments is fueling discontentment and rancor in many circles, including the agitation for a separate homeland for Ndigbo.
A brief profile of the service chiefs showed that Irabor, who is from Agbor in Delta State was the immediate Chief of Training and Operations, Defence headquarters. He took over from the erstwhile Commander, Major General AA Tarfa before his recent appointment as CDS by Buhari. He replaces General Abayomi Olonisakin.
An Alumnus of the Ghana Armed Forces Staff College Ghana, the National Defence College Bangladesh and Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Programme, USA. Irabor is a trained Engineer from Obafemi Awolowo University and holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Ghana, Accra, and Bangladesh University of Professionals, Dhaka.
As the CDTOPs, he was in charge of training and operations in the Armed Forces of Nigeria under the direction of the Chief of Defence Staff. Specifically, he undertakes periodic reviews of a broad range of policies and activities relating to training and operations in the Armed forces. In addition to his schedules, he is the Chairman of the AFN Committee on COVID-19. The Committee is working to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in the establishments of the Armed forces in line with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control protocols. The Committee is also giving support to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 including the deployment of Medical Personnel across the country to boost the available manpower in the management of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
He was formerly the Theatre Commander of OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE, North-East Nigeria as well as Force Commander Multinational Joint Task Force in the Lake Chad Basin Area. The operations focused on Counter-Terrorism/Counterinsurgency. He is a distinguished awardee of several militaries, ECOMOG and United Nations Awards and Medals.
Attahiru was a former theatre commander of Operation Lafiya Dole. His redeployment follows a string of attacks by the insurgents, including the killing of at least 50 people in a mosque. He hails from Kaduna State
Attahiru, who hails from Kaduna state, was relieved of command of Operation Lafiya Dole on December 3, 2017 and redeployed to Nigerian Army HQ as deputy chief of policy and plans. The Nigerian press had cited Defense Ministry sources as saying that the change in command was related to poor performance in the field and the inability to catch the Leader of Boko Haram, Abu Bakr Shekau, after Buhari had given him an ultimatum to do so.
It was reported that in the two weeks prior to Attahiru’s transfer, Boko Haram killed 13 people and injured 50 in twin suicide bombings in Biu (Borno State), killed 50 people in a suicide bombing on a mosque in Mubi (Adamawa State) and attacked a forward operating base (FOB) in Magumeri (Borno State), killing three members of the 5th Brigade garrison
Rear Admiral A. Z. Gambo, Chief Staff Officer, Naval Training Command. He replaces Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas who as Chief of Naval Staff since July 2015. Gambo, who hails from Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State, was born on April 22, 1966. He enlisted into the Nigerian Navy on September 24, 1984 as a member of regular course 36 and was commissioned as Sub-Lieutenant on September 14, 1988.
Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao was born on 14 Sep 65 at Enugu. He hails from Oshogbo LGA of Osun State. He attended the following academic schools: Nuhu Bamali Pry School Kaduna from 1971 – 77, Command Secondary School Kakuri Kaduna from 1977 – 82, Federal College of Freshwater and Fisheries Technology (FCFFT) New Bussa from 1994 – 96, University of Madras India from 2002 – 2003, Kaduna Polytechnic from 2005 – 2006 and National Defence University China from 2012 – 2013.
He replaced Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar who has been serving as Chief of Air Staff since July 2015.
He enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force on 19 Jan 1984 as a member of 35 NDA Regular Course and was commissioned as Pilot Officer on 20 Dec 86. He started his Primary Flying Training at 301 Flying Training School (FTS) Kaduna from 1987 – 1989, did the Basic Flying Training at 303 FTS Kano from 1990 – 92 and Tactical Fighter Training at 99 Air Combat Training Group (99 ACTG) Kainji from 1993 – 99. Thereafter, went for Instructor Pilot Course at 301 FTS Kaduna from 2004 – 2005.