The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu again on Sunday, defended the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to continue keeping the current service chiefs despite several calls for their removal from office.
The presidential media aide also maintained that contrary to what critics want Nigerians and the general public to believe, President Buhari is fully in charge of his government.
Mallam Shehu made the submission on Sunday as a guest on TVC interview programme, titled ‘Politics on Sunday.’
In his submission, he noted that the appointment and firing of service chiefs is purely the prerogative of the President, adding that Buhari is seeing what others are not seeing about the service chefs, hence his decision to retain them in office.
“It is because he is seeing things that critics are not seeing. He is seeing things most people don’t see.
“It is not a tenured appointment. There is no part of the law that says Chief of Army Staff must serve for two years. Then, after two years, he must go.
“He serves at the pleasure of the President. Now, the President has said again he will make changes. When will he make those changes? It is entirely up to him. I think Nigerians should give him the benefit of the doubt,” Shehu said in response to a question on the continued stay in office of the current service chiefs despite public outcry for their sack.
The presidential media aide added that the challenges on insecurity is not the exclusive preserve of Nigeria as a country but all hands must be on deck to overcome the challenges.
In his words, “This country has always been challenged by issues of insecurity. No country is crime free. The challenges are mutating. They are transforming from one form to another….
“But all hands are now on deck. From the resolutions we are seeing, particularly coming from the President, 2021 is going to be very decisive in dealing with Boko Haram, banditry, and kidnapping.”
Responding to insinuations that Buhari is not in charge of his government, Shehu answered: “President Buhari is healthy, fit, and fully in charge of his government. Let no one make mistake that they can chance the President on this thing. The fact is that the President is calm, patient, and not bullish.
“He was once a military Head of State. He had executive power, legislative power, and judicial power under the military as Commander-in-Chief. But it’s about dictatorship. So, he knew power and how to wield it.
“But the fact that he is here as an elective president in charge of one of the three arms of government, the executive arm of government, this has changed on how much he can really go after them. He can only persuade the parliament. He as President will also not like to be seen as dictating to the courts.
“The latitude of opinions intellectually, be it academic, medical, or whatever it is available to the President at anytime is not available to any single citizen.
“The critics are saying he is not getting it right. The President cannot be bound by every advice he gets. He makes choices because on every given course of action, the President is presented with options to decide what is in the best interest of the country because he has sworn to an oath to defend the nation, the Constitution, lives, and properties.”
Meanwhile, the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has been appointed as the leader of the South East caucus for the forthcoming national convention of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
The Chairman National Caretaker/Extraordinary Conversation Planning Committee of the party and Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, made this known In a letter to the governor on Saturday.