Former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, has faulted the recent appointment of service chiefs made by President Muhammadu Buhari of which an Igbo man from the Southeast was not included.
Buhari had last week announced the appointment of Major-General Lucky Irabor from Delta State, as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru (Kaduna), Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Auwal Gambo (Kano), Chief of Naval Staff and Air-Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao (Osun), Chief of Air Staff.
The new defence chiefs replaced the now retired military top brass: General Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff; Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff and Air-Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff.
The ex-Senate President said the latest appointments have again shown how the Igbos have been relegated to the background in the scheme of things in the country.
Wabara, wondered why the Chief of Army Staff position believed to be more powerful must always be given to a northerner while the Chief of Defence Staff portfolio which he described as merely ceremonial would invariably be left for a Southerner.
His words: “He (Major-General Lucky Irabor) is from Delta. But one will feel that he is from the Southeast which he is not. He is not from the Southeast. So, clearly the hatred that this man, this president has for Ndigbo has not abated yet. It is very much still there. This appointment to me is full of deceit. Why won’t a southerner be the Chief of Army Staff? They always give the South Chief of Defence Staff which is just ceremonial. You should not forget that in this current democratic setting, I was the pioneer Chairman Senate Committee on Defence under Enweren in 1999. So, I know what I am talking about when it comes to defence matters or security matters. The Defence Staff portfolio is ceremonial. You hardly find a core northerner being appointed a Chief of Defence Staff. They are always occupying the Chief of Army Staff which is the key. So, to me, the whole thing is just full of deceit. The deceit of this president is still on.
“And of course I don’t want to talk about my own people (Ndigbo) who are not considered to be part and parcel of this country. And let us go, they won’t allow us go. They won’t allow us go! Why must we continue to suffer in a nation that our forefathers Ndigbo were in the forefront of building? And today we are with impunity relegated to the dustbin. And you expect us to think that we are part of this country? No!”