Gradual Killing Of The System - by Eric Teniola

Since the return of civil rule in 1999, we have had eight Inspector-Generals of Police till date. 

They are Musiliu Smith (1999-2002); Mustapha Adebayo Balogun, March 2002- January 2005; Sunday Ehindero, 2005-2007; Mike Mbama Okiro, 2007-2009; Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo, 2009-2010; Hafiz Ringim, January 2010- 2012; Muhammed D. Abubakar, 2012-2014; and Mr. Suleiman Abba, 2014- till date. 

A keen observer will note that in some cases, some Inspector-Generals of Police even introduced new uniforms, during their tenure.

Similarly, from 1999 till now, we have had seven Chiefs of Air Staff. They are Air Marshal Isaac Alfa (1999-2001); Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep (2001-2006); Air Marshal Paul Dike 2006-2008; Air Marshal Michael Oluseyi Petinrin (2008-2010); Air Marshal Mohammed Diko Umar (2010-2012); Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh (2012-2014); and Air Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu from January 2014 till date.

From 1999, we have had nine Heads of Service of the Federation. The post is a creation of the constitution. They are Mr. Abu Obe,1999-2000; Mahmmud Yayale Ahmed, 2000-2007; Ms Ebele Okeke, 2007-2008; Ms Ammal Pepple, June 16 – June 15, 2009; Mr. Steve Oronsanye, June 16, 2009 – November 15, 2010; Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, November 16, 2010 – September 2011; Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, September 30, 2011 to March 2013; Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, March 25, 2013 to August 2014; and Danladi Kifasi, August 19, 2014 till date.

All things being equal, Kifasi will retire in December next year when he clocks 60. He has served as a member of the governing board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

I am told that Kifasi is highly imaginative and hard-working. Poor soul. According to the pioneer Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, established in February 2004, Dr. Goke Adegoroye, who retired as permanent secretary of the Federal Capital Territory two years ago, there are over 150,000 federal civil servants (mainstream) as of now.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was established on April 1, 1977, as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel.

It also supervises the upstream and downstream oil development and is charged with regulating and supervising the oil industry in Nigeria. It has nine directorates. They are exploration and production, refining and petrochemicals, commercial and investment, finance and accounts, corporate services, gas and power, engineering and technology and business development.

From 1999 to date, we have had eight Group Managing Directors for the NNPC. From March 17, 2010 when Goodluck Jonathan became acting President till he was finally sworn in as President, on May 6, 2010, following the death of Umaru Yar’Adua, five Managing Directors of the NNPC have served under the current President. Likewise, the current Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has appointed four GMDs for the NNPC since she came to the Ministry on April 16, 2010. They are Dr. Jackson Gaius Obaseki, May 1999- November 2003; Funso Kupolokun, November 2003- July 2007; Abubakar Yar’Adua, August 2007- January 2009; Dr. Muhammed Sanusi Barkindo, January 2009- May 2010; Ladan Shehu, April 2010 to May 2010; Austen Olusegun Oniwon, May 2010- June 2012; Andrew Leah Yakubu, June 2012- August 2014, and now Dr. Joseph Thlama Dawha from August 2014 to date. Dawha joined the NNPC in 1988. All things been equal, he has less than five months to serve. The NNPC has a Board of Directors of which the Minister of Petroleum is the head. The board was constituted on July 17, 2012. It was again reconstituted with the same membership last week. Interestingly, from 2012 till now, the board has met only once.

From 1999 till date, we have had seven Chiefs of Naval Staff. They are Vice Admiral Victor Kare Ombu (1999-2001); Vice Admiral Samuel Olajide Afolayan, 2001-2005); Vice Admiral Ganiyu T.A. Adekeye, (2005-2008); Vice Admiral Ishayalko Ibrahim 2008-2010; Vice Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, 2010-2012; Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba, 2012-2014; and Vice Admiral Usman Oyibe Jibrin, January 2014-till date.

Similarly, from 1999 till date, we have had eight Chiefs of Army Staff. They are Lt. Gen. Victor Malu, May 1999- April 2001; Lt. Gen. Alexander Ogomudia, April 2001- June 2003; Lt. Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, June 2003- June 2006; Lt. Gen. Owoye Andrew Azazi, June 2006-May 2007; Lt. Gen. Luka Nyeh Yusuf, June 2007- August 2008; Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, August 2008- September 2010; Lt. General Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika, September 2010-2014; and now Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tobiah Jacob Minimah, January 2014 till date.

The Chief of Defence of Staff is the highest military officer in the Nigerian Armed Forces. The position was established for the first time under the 1979 Nigerian Constitution with Gen. Julius Alani Ipoola Akinrinade as the first occupant. Akinrinade, a war hero, is from Yakoyo near Ile-Ife in Osun State.

From 1999 till date, we have had seven Chiefs of Defence Staff. They are Admiral Ibrahim Ogohi 1999-2003; Gen. Alexander Ogomudia, 2003-2006; Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, January 2006-May 2007; Gen. Andrew Owoeye Azazi, May 2007-August 2008; Air Marshal Paul Dike, August 2008-September 2010; Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, September 2010-October 2012; Admiral Ola Ibrahim, October 2012- January 16, 2014, and now Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh January 16 2014 to date.

From 1999 to date, we have had six Chief Justices of the Federation. They are Muhammadu Lawal Uwais 1999-2006; Salihu Modibo Alfa Belgore 2006-2007; Idris Legbo Kutigi 2007-2009; Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu, 2009-2011; Dahiru Musdapher, 2011-2012; Aloma Mariam Muktar, 2012 to date.

All these appointments clearly define who really we are. These career appointments made in the last 15 years alone have a ceiling on the number of years one has to spend in the service before one retires or one is kicked out. In the case of the judiciary, seniority takes precedence.

All the appointments were made by the President.

In some cases, he made the appointments, in consultations with the National Assembly or the Council of State. He does not need consultations before appointing anyone as the Group Managing Director of the NNPC neither does he need to consult anyone before appointing anyone as the Head of Service once he is a Permanent Secretary.

But there is nothing in the law or in the procedure of appointments, which says anyone less than two years left to serve, must be appointed head or anyone who is the most senior.

And there is no law that says the President cannot appoint someone that has at least four to six years to serve before retirement, so that he or she could carry out the necessary reforms before he or she retires. Changing service chiefs constantly, like we change police uniforms, is amazing.

Why must a new President distrust serving Service Chiefs to the extent that he has to appoint his own, bearing in mind that since 1999 till date only one political party has been in power in the centre.

We all know that in the military tradition once you appoint a junior officer as Service Chief, all his seniors automatically retire. Let us imagine how many trained and experienced officers that have suddenly left the service in the last 15 years – their careers suddenly cut short and their families in total penury, in a country of their own which they once served proudly.

Human nature being what it is, someone who has less than a year to spend in the office, however competent or patriotic one could be, will be more concerned or worried about his retirement plans than bringing any tangible inputs into the service, more so when pensioners in Nigeria are treated like endangered species – neglected and humiliated. A service is not a laboratory where you perform annual experiments with new reforms and with different headships.

The problem is that we don’t allow the system to grow. And a system does not grow over night. It has to be systematic and gradual. If we don’t allow the system to grow, then, we must expect all kinds of corruption, misconduct and irregularities within the system, hence the numerous gigantic and difficult problems that have now plagued us.

I have limited myself to the civilian government and the appointments made from 1999 till date because a civilian government is supposed to get things right.

Of what use is a dead service to the growth of a nation?

Eric Teniola is a former director at the Presidency