Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief when President Muhammadu Buhari during the week relieved his inherited baggage of service chiefs of their posts. For many Nigerians who wanted change, keeping them for more than a month was too long and they were impatient. I will soon cite an instance.
As a matter of fact, the security component has chiefly accounted for why the President is deemed to be slow. Though some of us do not share that sentiment, the assumption of slowness or tardiness is not without justification. People want immediate answers to their problems even as Boko Haram regained its waning strength shortly after the inauguration of PMB despite the fact that it was under the watch of the same security chiefs that successes were recorded during the heady days to the presidential elections.
I am not the only one who believes the President is not slow but methodical. According to Hon. Patrick Obaihagbon, that celebrity that seems to be catching my fancy these days, “While appreciating the tenterhooks of political ventriloquists, carpetbaggers, economic chichidodos and a vaudeville of pundits as to what they perceive as the phlegmatic predilection of President Buhari in the constitution of his cabinet, I would rather deposit in their objurgatory piazza the Chinese apophthegm which urges that softly softly catchee monkey.”
Those who vehemently accuse the President of being slow do not pay cognizance to the fact that the mob mentality is to kill the thief and the accomplice will go on to perpetrate more thefts. The position of the law is that the thief should be held so that he may give useful tips on how to prevent further thefts in future by spilling the beans on his accomplices.
The wisdom of PMB in familiarising himself with the former security chiefs with a view to knowing areas that require strengthening cannot be dismissed. It is believed the top officers would have provided useful tips on how they were able to contain Boko Haram before the elections and how the bandits appear to gain more confidence after the inauguration of the people’s President. That insight will be of good help to the new administration.
That is why the intervention of Obaihagbon expressed the views of many as he deemed their sack good riddance to bad rubbish. “The corpulent, lecherous, grasping crew has felt the first wind of change. No more bloated epigastrium bon hommie suyaing, peppersouping and big stouting. The military higher echelon has been given the F5 it sorely needs,” he said.
Having done away with the old order regime, the task before the new service chiefs is to hit the ground running, “hit the sky flying and hit the ocean swimming” with a view to restoring confidence in the Nigerian security establishment. Just as BUHARI has been said to be an acronym meaning “Bring Us Hope And Restore our Integrity”, Nigerians earnestly hope that the new security top shots will do their work conscientiously and save Nigeria from the Boko Haram menace.
That Boko Haram is bad rubbish that requires good riddance is known internationally and the needful should be done immediately to make our people safe wherever they are in Nigeria. It is 459 days today that the Chibok girls have been abducted and the situation still remains dire. The nagging question is: will they ever return?
One interesting thing about the appointment of the new service chiefs is that they were appointed on merit. As there is no reason yet to doubt the honesty and integrity of the President, his words earlier in the week at a meeting with them is an indication that meritocracy may soon find its way into our national consciousness.
“All of you, including the National Security Adviser, were chosen on merit. Your records gave you the job. Save for the new Chief of Army Staff whom I briefly met at his Command at the Multi-National Joint Task Force, in Chad, I don’t know any of you. Your records recommended you,” the President said.
The implication of this is that unlike the Nigeria of old where lobbying undergirded everything and knowing someone who knew someone could shield you from law or fetch you a position, it is possible for you to do your work diligently and get recognised. This is really good for the polity as it promotes professionalism.
While the temptation is there to congratulate the new service chiefs on their appointment, the truth is that there is nothing to congratulate them on for now. It was the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede, that was widely reported in 2007 to have told people who congratulated him on his appointment as Vice-Chancellor to hold their peace.
His argument is infallible. He said you don’t congratulate a medical doctor that is about to perform a surgery. It is only after a successful operation that he can be congratulated. By implication, it is only after a job is well done that one can actually congratulate a person occupying an office. For instance, if the former service chiefs had done their work well and succeeded, congratulatory messages can be pouring in now.
Following that cue, we wait to see how the new officers will address our security challenges before we congratulate them. We can only wish them all the best.
Congratulations to all Muslims in Nigeria and beyond on the successful completion of Ramadan!