The race for the replacement of the late Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, has started 48 hours after his death.
Attahiru and others died in a plane crash involving a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Kaduna on Friday and were buried on Saturday.
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Few hours after the burial, there were insinuations that Maj.-Gen. Danjuma Ali-Keffi, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kaduna, had been penned down for the job.
However, checks by Daily Trust showed that Ali-Keffi is not among the most senior military officers in the operation of the Nigerian Army.
Findings reveal that there are more than 30 senior Major Generals who are superior to him.
A source said President Muhammadu Buhari is considering a senior officer from the South-East to correct alleged imbalance in the composition of his security team.
But the source noted that with the increasing agitation and attacks on security agents and formations by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the thinking is that it is too dangerous to give the South-East such a position.
Security experts, who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday, said Attahiru ought to be replaced as soon as possible in order to sustain the tempo of counter-terrorism in the Northeast and boost the morale of frontline troops.
But a senior officer at Defence headquarters told one of our correspondents that it was too early to be talking about COAS replacement as the nation is still mourning late Attahiru.
Jettison ethnicity, expert tells Buhari
In a telephone interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, a security expert, Kabiru Adamu, also stressed the need for the President to jettison ethnicity, and consider superiority, merit and experience of the officer in the theatre of war before appointing anybody.
He added that it was expedient for the President to prove people who are saying he hates the South-East wrong by appointing someone from the region, this, he said, would quell their agitation.
Adamu said, “Incidentally, the COPP represents a part of Nigeria that has been crying over the last six years that they are not represented within the security architecture, I think it is a good opportunity for this administration to show clearly that he reflects national character in his appointment.
“National character is very important; merit is also absolutely important. Nigeria is very challenged at the moment; some will say we are at war. If we are at war, we need a military leader that can deliver victory to us in the war we are in.
“What are the two major issues the military leader, especially the army should focus. First is terrorism and then banditry. The role of military in these two issues is absolutely important.
“We can also add the third one which is the secessionists’ agitation that have been existing in the South East which are not cropping up in the South West. Now, in all these three issues, the army in particular will play a key role, so, it must be somebody who can deliver all these three things.
“More importantly, he should be able to work with other security agencies to ensure a coordinated effort in handling these 3 issues.”