The newly appointed Service Chiefs on Wednesday outlined their programmes for the Nigerian Armed forces as they appeared before the House of Representatives Adhoc committee for screening in accordance with the provisions of the Armed Forces Act.
Those who appeared before the Adhoc committee made up of members drawn from the House Committees on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force are the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Auwal Gambo; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Ishiaka Amao.
They were accompanied to the House by Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) who said the new Service Chiefs were still wearing their old rank instead of the rank of their various offices because the government was waiting for their confirmation by the National Assembly as part of efforts to subject them to civil authority.
Magashi said they will only wear the rank of their new offices after they have been confirmed by the National Assembly.
First to speak was the Chief of Defence Staff nominee, Major General Lucky Irabor who said “If confirmed, my intention is to foster a better Armed Forces that is capable of making effectively, the imperatives of the constitution.
“By so doing, I intend to have some pillars that are allied to this broad focus of leadership. This may not come out as a vision because I believe that visions are meant for institutions and not individuals.
“As a military commander, I intend to have leadership focus in outlining the broad areas, to this, I intend to build a very professional armed forces that is effective, agile, result oriented and of course, one that is loyal to constituted authority.
Chief of Army Staff nominee, Major General Attahiru said he would be working towards a Nigerian Army that is re-positioned to professionally defeat adversaries, adding that his “style would be an integrative approach that would involve every Nigerian in providing adequate security for the country.”
While promising to provide the right leadership for the Army, especially in the trying times of the nation’s history, he said “emphasis would be particularly on role of government and role of society approach, where each and every Nigerian would be part of the security architecture to bring an end to our current problems.
“The vision is embedded in the command philosophy, built on specific pillars such as readiness, duty to country, dependability and continuous leadership development. For particular emphasis, mission readiness, training, functional manning and equipment, loyalty and sacrifice to fatherland and continuous leadership development. We will build an Army that will be innovative in the 21st century.”
On his part, the Chief of Naval Staff nominee, Rear Admiral Auwal Gambo called for loyalty, cooperation, commitment, knowledge and skills of all officers, ratings and civilian staff of the Nigerian Navy, saying his goal is to optimally harness these for the benefit of the service and the nation.
“If confirmed as Chief of the Naval Staff, I intend to leverage on all factors of national location, technology, training, teamwork and synergy to re-energize the Nigerian Navy and enhance her as a well-motivated and ready to discharge her constitutional mandate and other tasks in fulfillment of the national security objectives,” he said.
Also, the Chief of Air Staff nominee, Air Vice Marshall Isiaka Amao said his focus for the Air Force will be to enhance and sustain critical airpower capability required in pursuit of national security imperatives.
He said he would also focus on doctrinal development and joint military operations, pursue purposeful training and human capacity development, as well as ensure that weapons and equipment serviceability are sustained through elevating maintenance methods and logistic support system.
He also said he would foster a discipline workforce essential for combat readiness.
In his remarks, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi said the government was aware of the constitutional provision that all nominated candidates should be screened by the National Assembly before they are confirmed.
He said; “I am happy that we did not run fowl of the law. Since they were appointed, we only called them designate and refused them to wear the rank of their various offices. If you see them right now, they are still wearing their old ranks.
“The CDS is supposed to be a full General, while the Service Chiefs should be Lt Generals and equivalent. Let me assure you that the Armed Forces of Nigeria today is fully aware of its constitutional role and we are prepared more than ever before to subordinate the military to civil authority. That we will do in other to promote cohesion and national unity in the country.
“I have no doubt that those nominated by Mr. President will no doubt make this country very proud. I hope the House will recognize the importance of their assignment. Today, we had a setback somewhere and as soon as we finish from here, the appropriate service chief will take care of that. I want to assure you that we will deliver on the expectations of Nigerians.”