The complex and sensitive nature of defence and security architecture the world over, abhors sectional and political considerations in appointments of its leadership.
This candid view was expressed by concerned Nigerians operating under the auspices of Conference of Concerned Nigeria Security Experts, in response to the deteriorating security situation in the country, occasioned by insurgency in the North East, armed banditry in the North West and parts of North Central, herders’ menace in the South West, as well as militancy in the South South.
According to the experts, the plural and multi-dimensional nature of Nigeria opens actions and policies of government – no matter how well-intentioned – to subjective scrutiny, based on which divide is driving the psychology of perception.
As a result, conscious efforts must be made by leaders to reflect the gamut of the country’s multi-ethnicity, with a view to liberalising the sense of worth, which is a necessary condition for peaceful co-existence.
This was as the experts drew parallels between the suffocating ethnic tension across the country and the perceived exclusion and marginalisation of some sections of the country by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in his governance approach.
In a statement jointly signed by their National President, Prof. Otedola Adekunle,and National Secretary, Dr.(Mrs) Christy Aklo, the security experts argued that the perpetuation of insurgency, banditry and other violent crimes in the North, may not be unconnected to the concentration of military, security and para-military heads from that section of the country.
To them, in the course of executing their mandate, there arises an inadvertent natural inclination and sentimental attachment which, in the final analysis, creates setbacks.
Arising from the foregoing, therefore, the security experts have made a passionate appeal to President Buhari to reconsider his exclusion of the South East from national affairs.
In their estimation, the best place to begin to redress the balance, is within the Service Chiefs circle, where no officer of Igbo extraction was considered worthy of appointment by the President.
“As security experts with experience in contemporary security threats, we know that there is a socio-psycholigical aspect of security management, which responsive and responsible government’s the world over must take seriously”, the group said in the statement.
The experts enjoined leaders to pay attention to the needs of all sections of the polity, address concerns, and as much as possible, avoid the use of force, where dialogue is inevitable.
The statement reads in full: “Nigeria is a member of the comity of responsible nation’s, which must be governed based on its plurality and peculiarity, regardless of who is at the helms of affairs at any given point in time.
“We are aware that at the snap of a finger, the federal government was able to approach a Federal High Court in Abuja to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and accordingly, designated it a terrorist organisation.
“It is, however, curious that the same government has not deemed it appropriate to apply the same dose to marauding hersmen, who go about with AK-47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons killing, maiming raping and causing destruction to property and livelihood.
“As experts, we are of the firm view that, in administering a plural society such as Nigeria, leaders must ensure that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, for purposes of egalitarianism, justice and fairness.
“When you treat an otherwise equal region as a ‘plaque’ that must not be touched with the longest of sticks, you leave them with the natural feeling of alienation and subjugation, which ultimately affect their sense of worth and relevance.
“We know as a fact that this development is what is weighing down the Igbo at the moment, and we implore the President to quickly assuage this psychological torture by reviewing the recent appointment of Service Chiefs, to incorporate an illustrious South East officer.
“We recall that in the Presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a worthy son of Igbo in the person of Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), was appointed the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
“Apart from the confidence that that appointment elicited among Ndigbo, we also witnessed the commendable routing of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) from the hideouts in Sambisa forest and other strongholds.
“When you recognise and appreciate a people’s sense of humanity, they are bound to offer you unflinching support,and also pledge their unalloyed loyalty to further a course.