Punch Newspaper - Top military officers in the country are mounting pressure on political big wigs and influential top retired military generals for appointment as Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs of the Nigerian Army, the Navy and the Nigerian Air Force.
A top security source, who confided in our correspondent, said that top military officers from the rank of Major General, Rear Admiral and Air Vice Marshal are making underground moves to occupy the top four positions in the military.
Investigations revealed that some of the officers of the rank of Major General in the army and its equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force are also reaching out to top politicians and their military godfathers in strategic positions for appointment as service chiefs.
The present leadership of the military, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, were appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2015.
By the tradition of the military, the service chiefs are expected to retire at the end of a two-year tenure, except their services are extended by the President, who has the prerogative to do so.
In the case of the three service chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, their tenures are expected to end by June 2017 except they are granted the privilege of service extension.
Also, the position of the Chief of Defence Staff, the highest military office in the land, is expected to be vacant next month.
The current Chief of Defence Staff was expected to have retired from the service in December 2016 but his service was extended by the President.
It was learnt that the expected retirement of Olonisakin is a near-certainty since he had already enjoyed a gracious tenure extension for a year in 2016.
Investigations revealed that Olonisakin’s expected exit from the highest coordinating position of the Nigerian military has thrown up a serious contest for the position between the service chiefs.
The source said, “what is happening is the politics of who would become the next service chiefs.
“Remember, this set of service chiefs were appointed in July 2015, and by the end of June, their tenure, will come to an end except if there is an extension.
“Those who believe that they are qualified for the job are scheming, reaching out to politicians to strengthen their chances of being appointed as service chiefs to the respective services.”