The South West elders, operating under the umbrella of Conference of Concerned Yoruba Elders (CCYE), expressed reservation over the alleged continuous sidelining of their Igbo neighbours from the security management team, saying they were losing sleep over the development given that it had happened for the second time, having experienced the first in 2015 when no military officer of South-East extraction made it in the security team composed by the president.
In a statement, Tuesday, signed by their National Coordinator, Prof. Olusegun Ajibola and National Secretary, Dr Catherine Adisa,
The elders said having carefully followed the unjust development towards the Igbos since 2015, they felt constrained to voice their concerns over the matter.
To this end, they have appealed to the president to review the appointments of security heads and accordingly accommodate the South East for justice and equity, saying all major regions of the country be given equal representation in the security management.
The group tasked Nigerians not to sit on the fence on the matter, challenging them to stand up for the Igbos by voicing their concerns as according to it,” an injustice to one is injustice for all.
Noting that no ethnic group or tribe in the country had a stake in the Nigerian project than the others, the group insisted that it was time for President Buhari to right his wrong so that every part of the country could have a sense of belonging in Nigeria.
It said the reactions and counter-reactions trailing the appointments of service chiefs and alleged sidelining of officers of Igbo origin was a thing of concern to it hence its decision to speak out.
They said: “We have carefully followed the reaction and counter-reactions that is trailing the appointments of the new service chiefs and concerns raised by Nigerians over the exclusion of Igbo from South East, and as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, we wish to add our voice to this growing concerns.
“Firstly, we thank God and President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing our son, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao as Chief of the Air Staff.
This is the second time that the president is considering our region worthy enough for appointment into the nation’s security management.
We are indeed grateful to him for this gesture. “We can categorically say that it is an appointment that Mr President will not regret because of the professional and moral competence of the officer.
“We, however, stand totally with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and several other Nigerians who are of the view that justice was not done to South East in the composition of the service chiefs and should be urgently and fairly reviewed in the interest of justice and equity.”
According to the Yoruba elders, “The Igbo nation has suffered so much in this nation and if God must be kind to us, we need to address the so many injustices done to them.”
“Obviously, from the mood of the country after the long-awaited sack of service chiefs, the low or poor excitement in the country is a clear indication that people were not happy with the composition of the appointment,” the group added.
The group while reiterating its position that a review of the appointments was necessary for the interest of justice and equity, said it had nothing personal against the service chiefs but was only calling for a right thing to be done given that the country is a multi-ethnic one.
“We wish to say here in very clear terms that we have nothing personal against the new service chiefs because they are all competent in their various capacities.
However, we wish to say also that there are also competent and qualified Igbos in the various arms of the Nigerian Military,” the statement said.
According to them,” Anything done without justice cannot be effective because God will not be part of it”, adding that:
“The needed peace and prosperity of a country cannot be guaranteed as God is a God of Justice.” The group which, however, hailed President Buhari for what it described as his many infrastructural developments not only in the South East region but also the country as a whole, appealed to him to write his name in gold by reviewing the appointments of service chiefs.
” We must commend Mr President on the many infrastructural developments in the country as a whole. We humbly appeal to him to prove his critics wrong that he does not have anything against the Igbos and write his name in gold by reviewing the appointments of service chiefs to reflect true federal character with an Igbo military officer in the team. ”
We say this because this is the second time the president is appointing service chiefs in his government without an Igbo officer found worthy to be appointed.
To us, and so many Nigerians alike, this is not fair. “While we call on Nigerians to speak for the South East, we appeal to Mr President to review this appointment in the interest of justice that he and his party stand for,” the group added.