Home Latest Insights | News Leadership Tussle Amongst The Nigerian Armed Forces And My Conversations With a Retired Senior Military Officer.

Leadership Tussle Amongst The Nigerian Armed Forces And My Conversations With a Retired Senior Military Officer.

Leadership Tussle Amongst The Nigerian Armed Forces And My Conversations With a Retired Senior Military Officer.

There recently have been internal issues amongst the Nigeria armed forces since the president made the recent appointment, appointing new leadership.

The president in his wisdom bypassed most senior ranks and appointed leaders from ranks below their seniors and by military tradition as I was made to understand, when a junior rank is appointed over the seniors, all the seniors are expected to voluntarily retire since the seniors cannot take orders from the junior.

Well, most of the senior officers who are expected to voluntarily retire have refused to retire; the Nigerian army even made a publication insisting that Monday, the 3rd of July 2023  is the last day every affected senior officer is to submit his voluntary letter of resignation.

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This got me thinking of why a senior respected officer up to the rank of General in the army will wait to be embarrassed or dragged out publicly before he would voluntarily retire as expected. I am privileged to have a senior friend who is a retired major general in the Nigerian army and I had this conversation with him over the weekend. I asked him, why will senior officers refuse to voluntarily retire as expected and be waiting to be embarrassed out of office?.

I told him that I am guessing that maybe it was because of money, the senior officers could be waiting to get more monetary benefits before they exit the office. He quickly corrected that impression that I had by telling me that their refusal to voluntarily retire is never because of money and that the application to retire voluntarily triggers the whole process of the collection of monetary benefits. He said that It’s just the “naija” in us and greed that makes some senior officers want to remain in their seats even when they are expected to voluntarily retire.

He also told me that issues like these of senior officers refusing to voluntarily retire are not that bad amongst the armed forces; in his words; “It is really not as bad in the Armed Forces as it is almost impossible to refuse posting or retirement.  Many effective checks against such are in place if reported. This includes denial of access to the facility or office. Paraphernalia of office will be taken away, arrest and prosecution by court-martial etc. In fact You’ll discover that before all these your subordinates will no longer take instructions from you for the fear of mutiny and its consequences is the beginning of wisdom”.

I also asked him if this is how it’s done in other parts of the world, that the president can appoint juniors to head the military bypassing the seniors that are still in active service because it is expected that the president in appointing heads of the military should appoint from the most senior ranks  to avoid issues like this; he responded thus;

“Well, the C-in-C in his wisdom has the right to appoint whosoever he wants as the head of the Nation’s military. However, his decision is subject to guidelines as stipulated in the books. This is in line with best practices. However,  because of the complexity of our country, issues like ethnicity, religious and political considerations and quota system etc have cropped into the selection process. In other climes, only merit, seniority, strategic national interest, performance and to an extent politics among others play a vital role”.

I wish the newly appointed service Chiefs well and I hope that Nigeria will experience peace and security under their leadership. I also wish affected senior officers a happy voluntary retirement.

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