Serving members of Regular Course 35, 36 and 37 in the Army, Air Force and Navy, may be forced out of Service with the appointment of a member of the 37 Regular Course, Major General Farouk Yahaya, as the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A reliable military source stated that the senior officers may be asked to turn in their papers for ease of administration or be posted out to head tri-service institutions depending on the discretion of the Military Council.
According to the source, “there is going to be a serious shakeup in the three services with the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff. Depending on the decision of the Military Council, members of Course 35, 36 and 37 may be asked to turn in their papers for ease of administration or they can also be redeployed to head tri-service institutions but most of them will go certainly.”
Another senior Army Officer who didn’t want to be mentioned put the figure of Army Generals that will go at over 30, including two serving members of Course 35. The late Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru was of Course 35 before his death in an air crash involving a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Kaduna, May 21, as well as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, while the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo is of Course 36.
The President was earlier advised against going below Course 35 in picking Attahiru’s replacement for fear of unsettling the Army.
But Military sources, said the decision may not be unconnected with recent decision to flush out old hands in the service to pave way for younger officers who can reinvigorate the counter insurgency war.
The appointment of Yahaya, the current Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, formerly known as Operation Lafiya Dole, rested speculations that Buhari may appoint the Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Major General Benjamin Ahanotu, an Igbo, as Attahiru’s successor.
Although the exact figure of Generals that may be forced to resign was not known as at the time of filing this report, it was also unclear if the Minister of Defence, Major General Salihi Magashi (rtd), will allow a chunk of senior military officers to go in the middle of terrorism war.
Meanwhile, some junior officers who spoke on the condition of anonymity welcomed the President’s decision to choose the new COAS from Course 37.
They maintained that the flushing out of the very senior officers will brighten their chances of getting commanding positions.
One of them said, “It is a welcomed development, what it means is that we have the chance of attaining commanding positions before we retire from Service but if they continue to stay, it will mean that most of us will not get to that height.”