President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s appointment of new Service Chiefs has resulted in the retirement of numerous military top brass, in adherence to traditional command and control practices.
On Monday, President Tinubu approved the immediate retirement of all service chiefs, the inspector-general of police, advisers, comptroller-general of customs, and their replacements, with immediate effect.
The retired Service Chiefs include General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, Chief of Army Staff; Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
Their replacements are Maj. Gen. C.G. Musa as Chief of Defence Staff; Maj. T. A Lagbaja as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral E. A .Ogalla as Chief of Naval Staff; AVM H.B. Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff; DIG Kayode Egbetokun as acting Inspector-General of Police; and Maj. Gen. EPA Undiandeye as Chief of Defence Intelligence.
The retirement of the former service chiefs will also include their management teams and commandants of tri-service institutions, as per military sources.
The retirement will affect the Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of the former Service Chiefs and the Commandants of tri-service institutions, most of whom belong to Course 37 and 38 of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
As per military sources, the Chief of Defence Staff, Musa, is a member of the 38 Regular Course, while the other service chiefs belong to the 39 Regular Course.
In accordance with military tradition, the senior officers from courses 37 and 38, including those in Course 39 who are senior to the new Chief of Defence Staff, will have to retire.
Over 40 generals across the services will step aside to make way for the younger generation. In the military, a senior officer cannot take orders from a junior.
Former Army spokesman Brig Gen Sani Usman (rtd) stated that the retirement of military officers is a routine process that allows young talents to demonstrate their capabilities. He emphasized that this development will not impact the security architecture and the retirees will still form part of the military reserve.
Dr. Abdullahi Mohammed Jabi, the secretary-general of the International Institute of Professional Security (IIPS), expressed that the mass retirement of military generals will not significantly affect national security. He welcomed the infusion of new blood, diverse experience, and active officers in these positions.
The newly appointed acting Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, pledged to combat crime vigorously and eliminate criminality from the country. He expressed his determination to take on the challenges ahead and assured the public of his commitment to their safety and security.
Egbetokun’s predecessor, Baba Alkali, expressed confidence in the new leader, highlighting their shared history and past collaborations. Alkali handed over the reins, acknowledging the significance of this moment as a stage where one comes, works, and eventually departs.
In conclusion, the retirement of the former Service Chiefs and the appointment of new leaders inject fresh blood into the national security apparatus, ensuring a renewed focus on addressing the challenges faced by the country.