What Nigerians want from new service chiefs

This week, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approved the retirement of all service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police and the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service.

The President appointed Maj-Gen. C. G. Musa, Chief of Defence Staff; Maj-Gen. T. A. Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral E. A. Ogalla, Chief of Naval Staff; AVM H. B. Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff; DIG Kayode Egbetokun; Acting Inspector-General of Police and Maj-Gen. E.P.A. Undiandeye as the Chief of Defense Intelligence.

The President also approved the appointment of Col. Adebisi Onasanya as the Commander of Brigade of Guards and in the shake-up within the security sector Malam Nuhu Ribadu emerged as the National Security Adviser.

Tellingly, with the appointments among others he made in the week before, the President appears to be leaving no one in doubt of his readiness to go faster than his predecessor in office as far as the issue of governance is concerned. No wonder, he is labelled, Baba Go-fast.

In any case, with a high unemployment rate, worsening poverty level, escalating insecurity, and rising debt burden fuelling dismay in Nigeria, what we all crave is a quick deliverer. That is what we have elected in the person of Tinubu.
For too long, Nigeria needed development and a style of governance that is all-embracing and progressive. Nigerians, without consideration of party, religious and ethnic affiliations, want a President that can make the country much better than what it is today in areas of economy, security, unity and peace.
Regardless of who or where the appointees of the President come from, Nigerians want credible and competent public officials and, especially, heads of security agencies, who are God-fearing, kind-hearted and can tackle insecurity head-on.
These are the top qualities Nigerians want to see in the new security heads appointed by the President. In other words, Nigerians are looking for those who know that we can be much better than we are today as a country, and are willing to work with their team to lay the vision to make this country great again, a country that every citizen would be proud of and glad to contribute their quota to its development.
Sadly, while it is hoped that religion and ethnicity would not be brought to bear on the identities of the President’s appointees, rather, their antecedents and competencies would be considered, some mischievous people have started pointing at the ethnicity of some of the appointees.
Unfortunately, that is Nigeria! Religion and ethnicity have become intertwined into our politics so much, for so long and for no justifiable or beneficial reasons.
However, this is not to despair because credible and competent persons can be found from across the major religious affiliations and ethnic groupings in the country. So, it behoves the political leaders to put their best foot forward and that is exactly what the President appears to be doing with his appointments so far.
After all, the demand of Nigerians from the Tinubu-led administration is, first of all, to have a country upon which the foundation for any other thing can be built on.
Rightly, before now, some people believed that the country is gone. And, if truth be told, the country has never had it that bad. If we interrogate some of the major indices of state vulnerability, it will be largely agreed that this country currently experiences deterioration in many respects and needs serious attention leadership-wise.
Today, security-wise, no one is sure of his or her safety. One can hardly travel across the country by road or rail now feeling quite safe to do so. All manner of evil awaits anyone that dares. Currently, many Nigerians are captives in the hands of kidnappers, bandits, ritualists, human traffickers and so on.
Many homes are in anguish as they struggle to raise the ransom. There is even a slim hope that the kidnapped persons will be released, even with ransom paid. Of course, these situations tell how much this country has deteriorated.
Therefore, the very first demand on the President and the new security heads is to restore security to the nation. How those appointed are going to handle this problem is perhaps only known to them because it is difficult to ascertain the magic that would retrieve the quantum of dangerous weapons in the hands of non-state actors at the moment.
Beyond security, the next demand on the President and his appointees is the welfare of the people as many Nigerians, currently, go to bed on empty stomachs, on account of hyperinflation, poor remuneration, unemployment, underemployment, debt and non-payment of salary, among others.
Naturally, pressure is on the Tinubu-led administration to reverse the trend or change the narrative and that would warrant some urgent monetary policies, wage raise, industrialisation, anti-corruption policies, employment, palliatives and lifelines in the form of loans, among others.
That, no doubt, warrants the President to start work right from day one and, thankfully, in that respect, Tinubu has not disappointed. The problems which people pass through now will mount serious pressure on the President such that he may have some sleepless nights. That is why Nigerians want someone like Tinubu, who is prepared for the tasks ahead.
However, ahead of the appointment of Tinubu’s ministers and persons to head crucial areas of the economy, it must be said that Nigerians need seasoned technocrats and persons who understand the monetary policy to carry out the urgently needed re-engineering work on the country.
Such persons must be to know the economic nuances well and ensure diversification of the economy, bearing in their minds the need to make the welfare of Nigerians the cornerstone of their policies and programmes.
There is no doubting the fact that, until now, things went wrong just because we had leaders who did not have the capacity and competencies to lead a complex country such as ours and who wasted the nation’s time, run around doing nothing and created nothing in terms of value for the country and its people.
Now, with a president like Tinubu, is the time to create a future for this country. Indeed, now it is as if Nigeria is being given another opportunity for its leaders to make things right for the people to guarantee the future of generations yet unborn.

On Shettima’s call for stronger relations with the UK…

Vice President Kashim Shettima Wednesday called for stronger relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) in view, especially, of the long-standing historical antecedents, business activities and shared interests between the two countries.
The Vice President made the call during a courtesy visit to his office made by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Richard Montgomery.
Shettima commended the assistance and support of the UK government to Nigeria and expressed his hope for robust business relations in the future.
“I will urge you to facilitate the setting up of the Nigeria-UK Binational Commission,” he said and added that that bi-national commission when established, can accelerate and enhance business relationship between our two countries.
He called for the swelling of trade between “our two nations” because of the mutual closeness of the two nations.
Of course, Nigeria, having got its independence from the UK, is, rightly very close to its colonial masters’ country. However, the relationship between the colonised and the coloniser does not matter anymore. What matters now is that the two countries are independent and equal members of the international community.
Consequently, in as much as the need to deepen relations between the two countries, as Shettima urged, such a relationship must be based on equal shared interests.
Of course, there is no doubting the fact that each of the two countries has something tangible to benefit the other. At a time Nigeria is in dire need of technical assistance and know-how to develop, especially, its infrastructure and education sectors, the competencies of the UK in these respects cannot be ignored.
Similarly, the raw materials grown in Nigeria needed to keep oiling the industries in the UK are of utmost importance to that country and its people. This situation, therefore, makes it ideal for the UK to help Nigeria develop to meet the yearnings and aspirations of its people.
Thankfully, the Vice President said that as part of the efforts of the Tinubu-led administration to address ongoing security problems, the government would soon roll out different socio-economic intervention programmes and initiatives in the northeast and northwest zones.
Again, this is an area in which the UK can assist Nigeria to overcome its challenges.