The refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the service chiefs despite repeated calls by the National Assembly and other eminent Nigerians will be the major point of discussion when the president meets with the House of Representatives on Thursday, Daily Independent has gathered.
The lawmakers said they are ready to confront the president over the continued stay of the service chiefs, who they said lacked ideas on how to tackle the rising insecurity in the country.
The lawmakers, who were disturbed by the worsening insecurity in the country, last week, summoned President Buhari over the murder of about 43 farmers by Boko Haram terrorists in Zabarmari village, Jere Council of Borno State.
The president later met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and agreed to honour a summons by the parliament to brief members on what his administration is doing to address the deteriorating insecurity and other challenges facing the country.
Speaking with Daily Independent on Sunday, one of the lawmakers from the South-Eastern part of the country, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said they will be direct and will mince no words with the president over his refusal to listen to their demands on the continued stay of the service chiefs.
According to him, ignoring their calls for the removal of the service chiefs is akin to the president refusing to accede to the demands of over 200 million Nigerians, since they are the representatives of the people.
“Yes, we are looking forward to the meeting. Like you read, the president has agreed to the summons. We appreciate him for that. But mind you, we are not going to mince words on the issue of insecurity in the country, especially as regards the current service chiefs. We want to know why the president has chosen to ignore our calls for their removal long ago.
“If you recall, as far back as 2018 during the highpoint of the Benue massacre and killings in Southern Kaduna, we, the representatives of the people, called on the president to sack the service chiefs but he did nothing about it.
“Aside that, the leadership of the National Assembly, led by the Senate President and Speaker of the House also met privately with him and implored him to replace the service chiefs with new people who will bring fresh ideas and vigour into winning the war but he also did not listen to their plea.
“We want to know why the service chiefs think they are the best people for the job. We have heard rumours that he wants them to work with him till May 2023 because he trusts them. But we don’t want to believe that. If that is the case, he will explain to us during the meeting”.
Another federal lawmaker, who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said while he is a die-hard loyalist of President Buhari, the insecurity issue has gone beyond party affiliation.
“I think the issue has gone beyond the political parties we belong to. It is about the safety of lives of Nigerians, including us. The recent #EndSARS protest has served as an eye-opener for us. During that protest, the homes of many politicians were looted. The protesters never asked which political party you belong to before attacking.
“In a saner clime, the service chiefs would have resigned. But since they have refused to do that, then the president who hired them should fire them and bring in new people. There is nothing spectacular about the current service chiefs to warrant their long stay and I can tell you there are hundreds of Generals who can do the work better if given the opportunity.
“We are really serious about the meeting and I can assure you that this will be a complete departure from the past where we make resolution and not implement it. We want to be on the side of Nigerians on this issue and the demands of majority of Nigerians is that the service chiefs must go”.
Other lawmakers spoke in the same vein, saying the president will be confronted over the issue on Thursday.
He said President Buhari must show statesmanship by listening to the demands of Nigerians through their elected representatives on the need to sack the service chiefs.
“The Generals have failed. They should leave and allow other Generals to come and succeed. They should stop blaming or blackmailing other Generals because Nigerians are saying this group of service chiefs have failed. They should leave so that others can come on board and see if the insecurity challenges can be addressed”.
On the belief that President Buhari wants the service chiefs to remain in office until he completes his tenure, Junaid said, “We will like to know what guarantee Buhari has on whether he is going to remain as president till 2023; whatever he is afraid of can still happen to him whether in 2020 or 2023.
“It is always dangerous for a mere mortal to attempt to play God. Only God can guarantee that he will stay from now till 2023. There have been instances where others tried that before him and we all saw how they ended.
“Some of them barely escaped with their lives. So, those who are telling Buhari that the service chiefs can guarantee his tenure until 2023 are deceiving him and also deceiving themselves”.https://www.independent.ng/nass-set-for-showdown-with-buhari-over-service-chiefs/