By Doosuur Iwambe
Some elder statesmen in the country have berated Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, over claims that the tenure of Service Chiefs was at the “pleasure” of the Commander-in-Chief.
To this end, the elders re-echo their call on president Muhammadu Buhari to sack Shehu.
The elders in a statement by Prof. Tunde Banjo for South West, Dr Achike Nwachukwu for South East, Barr. Jackson Spiff for South South, Alhaji Baba Usman Funtua, North West, Prof. Shehu Bulama for North East and Dr. Isaiah Terhila for North Central zones, respectively, warned the presidential aide against incurring the wrath of citizens whom, they said, hardly sleep with both eyes closed, owing to the disturbing state of insecurity in the country.
The elders’ demand the sack of Shehu followed the latter’s recent interview in the media, which focused primarily on the state of insecurity in the country.
Responding to a question on why President Buhari was still keeping the Service Chiefs, in the face of worsening insecurity, Shehu had claimed that no part of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) stipulated tenure of military high command.
This was as he further explained that the President, who is the appointing authority, has not acted otherwise, because he had classified and privileged information that critics and those calling for their sack were not privy to.
In the referenced interview, Shehu had said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is still keeping the Service Chiefs because he is seeing things Nigerians don’t see.
“He’s seeing things that critics are not seeing. It’s not a tenured appointment.
“There is no part of the law that says Chief of Army Staff and others must serve for two years. Then after two years, he must go. He served at the pleasure of the President”.
However, the elders, who operate under the aegis of Conference of Concerned Nigerian Elders (COCNE), took exception to the presidential spokesperson’s submission, describing same as unprofessional in scope, insensitive in content, shameful in form, and reckless in nature.
They maintained that as a senior journalist that he is, Shehu ought to, at all material times, weigh his utterances against the general mood of the nation, particularly when discussions centre on the vexed issue of security and public safety.
It was against that backdrop, therefore, that the elders alleged that Shehu may be deriving some personal benefits from the continuous retention of the security chiefs, hence his position, as espoused during the Jos interview.
“We are alarmed by a rather reckless, insensitive, shameful and unprofessional statement credited to Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s media adviser, to the effect that the Service Chiefs, who have remained in office despite glaring lacklustral record of performance, serve at the ‘pleasure’ of the Commander-in-Chief.
“We are, indeed, shocked that a senior journalist of Shehu’s standing, who ought to be circumspect in his outings, especially when issues of security and public safety are concerned, would choose to speak in the manner he did.
“We daresay that only those that derive personal benefits from the status quo, will support its retention, as Shehu has continued to shamefully do.
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“Shehu and his ilk must be educated on the fact that, though appointed by the President, the Service Chiefs owe their respective positions to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is embodied by the citizens – the task payers’ – from whom they draw their humongous salaries, allowance and other perquisites”, the statement said.
Arising from the aforestated position, the concerned elders have called for the immediate sack of Shehu, to serve as deterrence to other presidential appointees, who may want to travel on Shehu’s route.