By Our Correspondent
The Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD have applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for finally taking action on Tuesday sacking to the nation’s service chiefs and appointing new ones in their stead.
To this end, the elders operating under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CNEPD), appealed to the president to balance the equation by reviewing the appointments to reflect the nation’s federal character principle.
Their position was contained in a statement,signed by their National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni,and made available to newsmen, Thursday,in Abuja.
The elders also urged President Buhari to review the appointment of the military heads to reflect fairness and equity.
The group which had relentlessly clamoured for the sack of the service chiefs over worsening insecurity in the country,overdue tenure and perceived low morale in the military following unnecessary tenure elongation for the security heads,thanked President Buhari for eventually taking action by relieving them.
“We completely throw our weight behind Ohanaeze Ndigbo on their position over the appointments of the new service chiefs. We vehemently appeal to Mr President for a review of the appointments to accommodate our Igbo brothers from the South East region in line with the federal character principle of the country. We are absolutely sure that taking this action will make the designers of our country happy where they are watching,”they said in the statement.
They added:” We received with great excitement the news about the sacking of the former service chiefs of the country by Mr President. It is quite commendable that the president finally listened to the clarion call by Nigerians to that effect.
“However, the composition of the service chiefs greeted us with mixed feelings and sincere concerns. We strongly believe that the list does not meet a fair list as it is lacking in fairness, justice, and equity to the south easterners.”
According to the group,”We thought some lessons would have been learnt by the Presidency by now that the Igbos too, are also Nigerians and deserve to be fairly and godly treated.”
“How can there be appointment of two sets of service chiefs without any Igbo person among them? Is this fair? What exactly has the Igbo people done to deserve this kind of unfair treatment?”They asked.
The group said,”Our careful checks revealed that
Igbos have senior and very qualified military officers in the Navy, Army, and Airforce who are serving faithfully in their various capacities! What is their sin?”
“We have seen how the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and several igbo groups are fighting the criminal son,Nnamdi Kanu and his group,the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra,IPOB, on a daily basis because they believe and act one Nigeria,”they noted.
The group tasked the president not to take certain actions that will continually be used by Mr Kanu to ganner followers from the South East geo-political extraction, insisting that steps that would take Nigeria towards fault lines be avoided.
“We appeal to Mr President to have a retrospection over this his latest appointments and do the needful because we feel that if it is not addressed soon, people like Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB will certainly continually make supporters of APC and your admirers from the South East region laughing stock of your administration,”they said.
According to the Northern elders, “President Buhari ought to have disappointed some of his critics that he doesn’t hate the Igbos as it’s widely insinuated, by appointing one of their sons into the nation’s security leadership .”
“Though we believe it’s not late to correct this injustice. It is in this regard that we therefore appeal to Mr President to remedy this great injustice done to the south easterners,”the statement said.
They added:”While we must state clearly that the appointment of service chiefs is the prerogative of the president as he can choose to appoint anyone from any zone, we wish to ask that what made the other geo- political zone more important than the South East?”
According to the group,”The mood of the country is so clear that Nigerians are not happy with composition of the service chiefs.”
“They expected to see a list of the new security heads centred in fairness and equity in line with the nation’s federal character principle,”they claimed.
we must speak the truth even as we are the major beneficiaries of this perceived injustice because until justice is done to all, the search for permanent peace in the country may just be a mirage. We srongly believe that justice and equity are the major ingredient of peace.
“We should remember that as insignificant as we may think the Igbos are today in political number, we will definitely need them tomorrow,”the Coalition said.
On the other hand,the Northern elders called on Ndigbo to remain calm and continue their unalloyed support to the Buhari’ administration, saying the development should not shirk their beliefs in the Nigeria project as according to them,the situation would be remedied.
“We, therefore,call on Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the South East governors as well as the South East National Assembly Caucus to continually prevail on the people of the zone to remain calm and peaceful.
“They should continue to resist their fugitive son, Nnamdi Kanu and his outlawed group,IPOB and all their antics of cashing in on the development to draw followers to their fold to continue on his ignoble path of working against the Nigerian state,”they charged.
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