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Femi Adesina defends ex-Service Chiefs, says they failed only in the eyes of those who don’t know what success is

Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has criticised those opposed to the nomination of the immediate ex-Service Chiefs as non-career Ambassadors.

Two weeks ago, Buhari named former Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin; former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; former Chief of Air Staff, Ibok Ibas; and former Chief of Naval Staff, Abubakar Sadique, as Ambassadors.

The development sparked nationwide outrage and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked the Senate to reject them.

Many critics said before they were replaced, the ex-service chiefs could not tackle insurgency and improve security across the country.

But in his weekly article, Adesina said those who criticised the president for nominating the ex-service chiefs as ambassadorial are people who “love to see others fail”.

Adesina said the ex-service chiefs failed only in the eyes of those who don’t know what success is.

He wrote, “Almost everything in our country is accompanied by some sorts of furore. You do, you are damned. You don’t do, you are damned. No wonder President Muhammadu Buhari often says in private conversations, when some tumults occur on certain issues: ‘Head or tail, you never win some Nigerians.’ And he then smiles, to show that he has learnt to live with it.

“That was what happened last week when the nomination of the immediate past Service Chiefs as non-career Ambassadors was announced. The ululation from certain quarters could almost pull down the sky.

“Some people said: Are they the only Nigerians who can do it? After serving for more than five years in plum positions? They failed, how can they be rewarded for failure?

“And then, the most otiose, from a certain political party: Oh, they were being nominated as Ambassadors so that they would not be probed, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) would not come after them for war crimes.

“I felt ashamed listening to that, from a party that once prided itself as the largest in Africa, before it was knocked off its perch. Rusticated, given the shorter end of the stick by the people. Could they be so dense as not to know that being a non-career Ambassador confers on you no immunity from probe? Were they still so filled with bitterness at having their shout yanked off the national honeypot in 2015, that they must criticize everything, however silly it sounds?

“They claim the Service Chiefs failed. And these critics are people who will miss target if they attempt to fire catapult at an elephant. Poor marksman! Where was the country in terms of insurgency when their party was given the left leg of fellowship in 2015? Almost 20 local government areas under full Boko Haram occupation. By full, we mean they had planted the flags of their so-called caliphate in those places. Insurgents sat on the stools of emits, as the latter had fled for dear lives. Roads, schools, markets, NYSC orientation camps had been shut, as Boko Haram was the law in those places. They were collecting taxes and tolls, and running the local government offices. That was what that political party bequeathed to its successor, and to Nigerians.

“The Service Chiefs did not make a clinical end of insurgency, banditry, and other criminalities in the country. But not for lack of trying. They did their level best, made huge advances, but the times were very difficult. Did they fail in FAIL? Only in the eyes of those who appreciate nothing, and don’t know what success is.”

The Senate is yet to confirm the appointment of the ex-service chiefs but its committee on foreign affairs is about to screen them.

First published in Daily Trust

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