A group under the auspices of Coalition of Patriotic Nigeria Elders (COPANE), has said that the best way of celebrating the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day would have been for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the service chiefs and rejig the entire security architecture following the worsening insecurity in the country.
They observed that there was nothing to celebrate in this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day because of the inability of the President to address the numerous problems confronting members of the Armed Forces alive, especially the frontline troops.
In a statement signed by Coalition of Patriotic Nigeria Elders (COPANE), National Coordinator, Prof. Habu Usman Galadima, National Secretary, Dr (Mrs) Grace Onanefe and Legal Adviser, Barr. Muhammad Ibrahim Postiskum, COPANE noted that
the inability of pigeons to fly having been released to that effect by President Buhari during event held yesterday in Abuja to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, was a strong indication that Nigeria was not at peace.
The elders however, vowed to begin imminent mobilisation of Nigerians against the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC if it fails to immediately prevail on the president to act swiftly on restructuring of security architecture to save the country of further misfortunes.
” While we celebrate and pray for our heroes past who had served our dear country and paid the ultimate price as members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, we wish to state that there is nothing to celebrate in this year Armed Forces Remembrance Day because of the inability of Mr President to address the numerous problems confronting members of the Armed Forces, especially those in the frontlines.
“We observe with regret that the long and unnecessary tenure of the current service chiefs has not only affected career progression, in the Armed Forces of Nigeria today but also resulted in low morale among officers and men of the services besides other forms of setbacks. This is unconstitutional.
“The best gift Nigerians were expecting at this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day was the sack of all the service chiefs, followed with the appointment of younger officers with zeal and commitment to end this war,” they said.
The elders said the president’s speech at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day event was empty given that it failed to address insecurity threatening the country.
“We make bold to say that Nigerians were not interested in the president’s speech today because it does not address their yearnings which is the long overdue sack of the nation’s service chiefs.
“The arguments by some selfish persons around Mr President that he should not change the guard during war is the most irresponsible, misplaced, selfish and unprofessional arguments,” they added.
They argued that the President can’t do same thing for five years and keep getting same dismal results, yet, keep on as if all is well.
The further queried, what if this current service chiefs are the reason why the war has refused to end?
They faulted the president for maintaining adamant posture in the face of various calls for the sack of the security heads and their subsequent replacement with new hands.
“It is an illusion for the president to think that he is wiser than all Nigerians in terms of security. Nobody knows it all,” they said.
“The Nigerians who are asking you to sack the service chiefs and restructure the security architecture are the same Nigerians that voted for you in 2015 and 2019 and maybe still be the once to vote for your candidate and party come 2023, hence it’s dangerous to ignore them,” they warned.
The elders told the president that, “The refusal of pigeons which are symbols of peace to fly during the ceremony to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Abuja, is a bad omen for your administration.
“It goes to show that Nigeria is not peaceful yet. It also shows that God may be angry with this administration on the way it is handling issue of peace and security in this country.
“Pigeons, though are birds but they posses some spiritual elements that deliver critical updates on human lives. So, their deliberate refusal to fly was a huge sign that right things are not being done by you in terms of peace and security”.
The elders concluded that they are aware that several eminent Nigerians have appealed to the president both publicly and privately several times to relieve the service chiefs of their positions in the face of the dwindling security in the country.