President Muhammadu Buhari in a recent interview with Arise TV said that the performances of his service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police may be disappointing but he will take responsibility for their actions.
Buhari further gave reason why he has not yet removed the current service chiefs. According to him, he was a military general, he was a governor, minister and head of state under the military, so from experience, he would not make any hasty decisions.
He further added that removing service chiefs in the middle of the current war might not be the right decision to take.
“While fighting insecurity, if you remove the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, if you don’t wait for an appropriate time to do it, then you create competition within the service.
“There are many ambitious people waiting within the service but only one man can be the Chief of Army Staff, only one man can be Chief of Air Staff, only one man can be the IG. Don’t forget that it was this administration that appointed them.
“I didn’t know them personally. I followed records and I think I picked the best. Of course, their performances may be disappointing but I accept responsibility for not changing them.”
Asked whether he would extend the tenure of the IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, Buhari said; “I don’t think I am afraid of him. And I don’t think I have asked him to mount roadblocks in a place such that I’ll lose revenue (if he goes). But I’ll take action.”
As for the reason why the nation’s security heads are mainly from the North, he noted that loyalty counts in the appointment of security heads, adding that region and state of origin were not important in the appointment.
“I know there is a quota system, but then, if you’re a field op (operative), you have to be very careful, especially in the military where I served for about 20 years.
“You don’t promote people by their state of origin. If you do it, you’re going to get the shock of your life in the sense that the morale will go down so much that the military will become so inefficient.”
“If you are in charge, you have to be careful of who you put in charge.
“You have to be sure of his loyalty, you have to be sure of his or her commitment to the administration and their acceptability by the commands, and that will be based on the person’s training and experience. It’s a very sensitive issue.”
President Buhari further noted that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) might have hand in the rising security challenges in the country, adding that the PDP had looted the nation’s resources and consequently had the means to do anything to discredit his government.
“I am not defending our lack of security but you know after 16 years of the PDP, with the resources I have just mentioned to you, they had enormous resources at their disposal and they will do anything to use the resources at their disposal to discredit this administration.”
Regarding allegations that he has being marginalizing the Igbo people, Buhari vehemently denied it, saying that despite the very low amount of votes from the South-East region, he appointed ministers from every state in Igbo land.
“Somebody made an observation that I was not patronising the Igbo from the South-East. I told him that when I won the election, I studied the amount of votes I got from all the geopolitical zones.
“I said I got 198,000 from the whole of the South-East, which virtually any local government can give me. But I appointed ministers of foreign affairs, labour, industries and investment, mines and technology; these four, I never knew them from Adam. Ministers of state from seven states of the North are under these ministers. How fair do you want me to be?”
President Buhari also challenged the media to expose his wife, Mrs. Aisha, and his son, Yusuf, if they were found to have benefitted from any government deals.
“It is a very unfair allegation against my integrity. I don’t think… anyway you are in a position to find out and if you do so, I don’t care. Publish it even if my son or my wife has a company or they are involved in deals with customs and excise and so on, bringing in illegal goods or whatever; I challenge you to do that.”
He also noted that he did not stop any anti-graft agency from going after Senator Godswill Akpabio, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, whose N100billion probe went silent after he joined the ruling APC.
“I don’t think Akpabio, when he moved to the APC, that I said he should be left alone. I cannot remember asking the EFCC, the ICPC, the police or anybody to spare any corrupt person or incompetent person.
“I haven’t done it and I challenge you to expose any such thing.”