A pan-Nigeria group, Nigeria First, has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of Major General Farouk Yahaya as late Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru’s successor for the position of Chief of Army Staff.
According to the group, Maj Gen Yahaya’s appointment was another evidence of President Buhari’s commitment to the war against insurgency and insecurity across the nation.
Nigeria First, which made this known on Sunday at a press conference in Abuja, described the move as the right step in the right direction.
In his remarks, the group’s vice-president, Leonard Aluor , said the appointment is totally deserved owing to Yahaya’s track record of dedication to duty and a passion for service to the nation over the years.
Highlighting his impressive resume, Aluor described Yahaya as a thorough breed infantry general who possesses all the requisite attributes to lead the troops against Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East and other criminals across the country.
While charging the new COAS to see his appointment as an opportunity to put the Nigerian Army in the hall of fame in addressing the various security challenges in the country, Aluor urged him to reintroduce all hitherto quarterly exercises in internal security operations.
The group further tasked the Army Chief to remain apolitical, ensuring that the Army develops a versatile and proactive intelligence network that would greatly assist in nipping in the bud acts that undermine national security.
Nigeria First, however, advised ethnic and religious champions promoting insinuations that Yahaya’s choice was borne out of ethnic considerations to have a rethink and thread with caution by not attempting to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians.
Read the full statement below:
The leadership of Nigeria First welcomes you all to this press conference in the light of the recent happenings in the country with regards to the unfortunate incidence that claimed the life of Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru and ten others, and the subsequent appointment of a new Chief of Army Staff by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria First as a concerned stakeholder in Nigeria, views with deep concern the attempt by some individuals and associations to question the credibility of the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya, without recourse to his military records of exceptional performance that culminated in his appointment as General Officer Commanding 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, as well as Theatre Commander, leading the Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism war in North-East Nigeria.
The fact that some disgruntled elements are ascribing religious and ethnic sentiments to his appointment is most uncharitable and calls for caution in the country’s best interest in this critical point of our existence.
Nigeria First wishes to put it on record that Major General Farouq Yahaya is a brilliant officer and gentleman, whose track record speaks volume of dedication to duty and a passion in service to Nigeria over several years in his capacity as Garrison Commander Headquarters Guards Brigade, Directing Staff at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Deputy Director Army Headquarters Department of Military Secretary, Deputy Director Army Research and Development and the Chief of Staff, Headquarters Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield.
It is also instructive to add that Major General Farouk Yahaya also distinguished himself while he served as the Principal General Staff Officer (PGSO) to the Honourable Minister of Defence, the Commander, Headquarters 4 Brigade and 29 Task Force Brigade (Operation Zaman Lafiya), and also as Director Manpower at the Army Headquarters, Military Secretary, Army Headquarters.
Thus, our considered opinion that Major General Farouk Yahaya is a thorough breed infantry general who possesses all the required attributes to lead the Nigerian Army in its quest to address the threats posed by Boko Haram insurgents in North-East Nigeria other acts of criminalities in other parts of the country.
Nigeria First, as concerned stakeholders, commends the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for the choice of Major General Farouq Yahaya to lead the Nigerian Army. This, in our considered opinion, is a right step in the right direction towards reclaiming the sobriquet of the Pride of the Nation for the Nigerian Army.
Nigeria First also wishes to charge the new Chief of Army Staff to see his appointment as an opportunity to put the Nigerian Army in the hall of fame in addressing the various security challenges in the country. We are also encouraged to add that the new Chief of Army Staff must see the reintroduction of all hitherto quarterly exercises in internal security operations.
The new Chief of Army Staff myst also ensures that the Nigerian Army develops a versatile and proactive intelligence network that would greatly assist in nipping in the bid acts that undermine national security.
The new Chief of Army Staff must also ensure that the Nigerian Army remains apolitical in its various operations across the country. It must put the interest of the country and our nascent democracy at the centre of all decision making.
The new Chief of Army Staff must put to bear his experiences garnered over the years in the discharge of his duties by ensuring that all criminal elements fomenting ethnic and religious tension in the country are dealt with decisively.
Nigeria First consequently wishes to send a word of advice to the ethnic and religious champions promoting insinuations that the choice of Major General Farouk Yahaya as Chief of Army Staff was borne out of ethnic considerations to have a rethink and thread with caution by not attempting to insult our sensibilities.
The dynamics involved in appointing Service Chiefs in the country predates the Muhammadu Buhari administration. It involves many considerations that do not include religion or ethnicity. It is thus baffling that some individuals and groups would go all out to insinuate that the choice of Major General Farouq Yahaya was borne out of ethnic sentiments by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This, in our considered opinion, remains a puerile attempt to plunge the country into an ethnic and religious crisis. The ethnic and religious champions amongst us must be guided to desist from heating the polity unnecessarily.
Nigeria First, having scrutinized the records of Major General Farouq Yahaya, wishes to inform members of the general public that his choice is well deserved and devoid of any form of ethnic or religious considerations. It is also instructive to state that as a general leading the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism war in North-East Nigeria, he is better positioned to lead the Nigerian Army in this critical point of our existence.
The leadership of Nigeria First consequently charges the new Chief of Army Staff to hit the ground running and always to be assured that the Nigerian people will support him and Mr President at all times.
The appointment of Major General Farouq Yahaya as the Chief of Army Staff is indeed a laudable statement by President Muhammadu Buhari on his commitment to the war against insurgency and insecurity in Nigeria.
Thanking you all for your time and attention.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
God bless the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
God bless the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces