Nigerian Military Strengthening Institutional Partnerships
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
Prior to 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, promised to tackle insecurity headlong, if elected as Nigeria’s leader in the penultimate general election.
Alongside revamping the nation’s hemorrhaging, and tackling corruption, addressing the insecurity conundrum was the third cardinal electoral promise made by then presidential candidate Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Specifically, Mr. President pledged to bring to an end the terror reigns of both the Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, sects. But over six years after, that solemn Presidential vow still remain what it is.
Before the advent of the New Year, one factor many Nigerians adduced for the intractable insecurity was that the immediate-past Service Chiefs were incompetent, and clueless in proffering solution for the nation’s security challenges.
Many a security expert argued vehemently as to why Mr. President retained the Service Chiefs amid deteriorating insecurity.
It was however, not until 27 January 2021, that Buhari finally relieved the quartet of Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS; Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buhari, Chief of Army Staff, COAS; Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar, Chief of Staff, CAS; and Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, CNS; as Service Chiefs.
The emergence of Gen. Lucky Irabor as the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, after Olonisakin’s exit was gratifying to many.
For one, he is a celebrated and one of the finest army officer in our contemporary Nigerian military. Justifying the confidence of Mr. President on his appointment, Gen. Irabor, had since hit the ground running.
He has thrice, in a spate of two months, led other Service Chiefs to the Theatre Command in Maiduguri, as part of motivating and boosting the morale of gallant troops prosecuting the counter-insurgency war.
The Irabor-led Defence Headquarters, DHQ, is also strengthening institutional partnerships with relevant organisations and relevant bodies in the business of providing security. Only recently, General Irabor advocated for more collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and his DHQ.
According to him, the mutual collaboration will enable the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) respond proactively and promptly to security challenges, in tandem with the directives of the Commander-in-Chief, C-in-C.
The CDS made the call when he received the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mr Musa Istifanus who paid a working visit to DHQ, Abuja today.
The CDS noted that there was need to strengthen the existing working relationship between the MOD and the DHQ in order to close the existing bureaucracy to ensure that the directives of the Command – in – Chief are met within a specific timeline.
This, he said, could be achieved by establishing structures that would enable the AFN effectively perform its constitutional duties of safeguarding the nation.
Gen. Irabor thanked the Permanent Secretary, for the pivotal roles which the Ministry has played towards assisting the AFN in its effort to tackle national security challenges.
Earlier in his remark, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Istifanus said he was at the DHQ and indeed the Armed Forces Complex to familiarize himself with the operational engagements and administrative activities of the DHQ in a bid to identify the areas of collaboration and support for the AFN in its herculean task of ensuring national security.
Mr Istifanus conveyed the goodwill message of the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), whom he said is appreciative of the daily sacrifices of AFN personnel towards ensuring that the nation is safe and secured.
The Permanent Secretary who was accompanied by Directors in the Ministry, was briefed on DHQ organisation and roles, as well as the various DHQ coordinated military operations within and outside the country.
As the supervising body, the Ministry of Defence may have done quite a lot in terms of lending its support to the Nigerian military, in the recent past. But while the stewardship of CDS Irabor subsists, it should do more to ensure the presidential directive of tackling insecurity, is met.
The Ministry, as suggested by Irabor, should establish vital structures that would enable the military to efficiently discharge its constitutional duties of safeguarding the nation.
Ranging from improved security budget for the Armed Forces to organizing regular capacity building and training programs for military personnel, to adequate provision of welfare for the officers and men of the Nigerian military, the Defence Ministry must stop at nothing to do the needful.
These, and many more others, are what the Nigerian Armed Forces, under the leadership of Gen. Lucky Irabor, direly needs at the moment. Otherwise, meeting the directives of President Buhari anytime soon as far as tackling insecurity is concerned, will remain a pipe dream.
Mahmud Abdulsalam Assistant Editor PRNigeria
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