Following the tragic and untimely death of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, President Muhammadu Buhari has commenced the search for the next Army chief.
Recall that Attahiru and 10 other military officers had died on Friday in a plane crash involving Nigerian Air Force’s Beachcraft 350 aircraft in Kaduna.
Naija News gathered that intense lobbying among the military hierarchy on who succeeds Attahiru are already in top gear.
President Buhari is expected to name a new CoAS between today and tomorrow, according to sources familiar with the ongoing consultations over the matter.
According to DailyTrust, about six senior military officers were being considered for the post.
Among the most touted senior officers for the top job are; Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Manu Yusuf, Maj.-Gen. Danjuma Ali-Keffi, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Ahanotu, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sarham, Maj.-Gen Faruk Yahaya and Maj.-Gen. Fidelis Azinta.
The Army’s Chief of Operation, Maj.-Gen. Manu Yusuf is said to be highly regarded for his past exploits as Force Commander, Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF) and General Officer Commanding 7 Division, DailyTrust reports.
But according to sources, a major snag against him is his coming from Yobe, the state as the acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.
Like Yusuf, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sirham who is a credentialed military officer and responsible for many successes recorded by the army, has the disadvantage of coming from the same state (Kano) as the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), and the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo.
Maj-Generals Ben Ahanotu and Fidelis Azinta, the Chief of Policy and Plans (COPP), and Director Physical Training, respectively, are also being considered for their experience and seniority in the service but the president may not pick any of the two as sources say Buhari may opt for a northern officer.
Maj.-Gen. Ali-Keffi, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division, Kaduna, is said to be constrained by the number of senior officers ahead of him, with some persons arguing that it may not be worth the while for the country to lose so many experienced hands in the process.
A source backing him however argued that the seniority should not be a yardstick as many major-generals were retired to pave way for the favoured candidate in the past.
“When Dambazau was appointed COAS over 30 major-generals were retired. When Ihejirika, Minima and even Buratai were appointed, the army retired about 30 generals or more each time,” he said.
Source: Naija News