One of the areas in which the Buhari administration has faired poorly is in inclusion and in no area is this glaring than in his appointments of security chiefs and heads of security apparatuses in the country. The Southeast has suffered most as the man has not yet considered any of the region’s sons and daughters worthy to head of any of his security outfits even when, in more than two cases, they were next in line of seniority to take over.
Today, we look back at the recent past at a time when it was no taboo for southeasterners to head a security arm. Our interest is more about what they have been up to since leaving office more than what they did whilst heading their outfits.
Note that we didn’t go pre-Civil War days hence why General Aguiyi-Ironsi is not included. Also, this is about the southeast which means Former IGP Mike Okiro, an Igbo man from Rivers State, did not make the cut.
Rear Admiral Allison Amaechina Madueke (Chief of Naval Staff)
An Igbo man from Agbariji-Inyi of Orji River, Enugu State, Rear Admiral Allison Madueke has held many high ranking political positions in this country, albeit, military positions. He served as the then military governor of Anambra from 1984 to 1985 and also as the military governor of Imo State from 1985 to 1986.
He is the first Igbo to serve as one of the security chiefs since the civil war.
He however served as the Chief Of Naval Staff from 1993 to 1994 after being appointed by General Sani Abacha. He was however relieved from service after he supported the release of Moshood Abiola, the elected Civilian President that was arrested by the regime of Sani Abacha.
Read this – The Nsukka sector of the Civil War
After he retired from active service in the military, he further went on to serve as the Chairman of Radam Maritime services, Chairman Board of Trustees National ICT awards, and many other companies.
Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike (Chief Of Air Staff)
Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike served under two portfolios in the Nigerian military. He served as Chief Of Air Staff for a period of two years, 2006 to 2008, a role he was put in by former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo.
Air Chief Marshal is an Igbo military leader born and brought up in the North, Maiduguri of Borno State precisely. He enrolled in the Nigeria Defense Academy where he became a commissioned officer. In 2008, he was appointed the Chief Of Defense Staff by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and became the first Nigerian to achieve the rank of Air Chief Marshal in 2010.
He served in the military from 1975 to 2010, making it 35 years in service to Nigeria.
Currently, nothing much is known about him as he is not so involved in politics.
IGP Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo (Inspector General Of Police)
Born in Nkanu Local Government Area of Enugu State, IGP Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo joined the Nigeria Police Force having obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1972-1976).
What followed after he joined the Police Force was a series of appointments and promotions until he eventually became the inspector General of Police from July 2009 to September 2010.
His tenure was marked by the capture and eventual death in custody of the then leader of Bokoharam, Mohammed Yusuf. He also notably declared 20 policemen that died during the attacks of Bokoharam in the North East “National Heroes” and compensated their families with cheques.
He led a campaign against kidnapping in the South East, most especially in Anambra State.
In August 2019, Enugu State government appointed him as a security consultant.
Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika (Chief Of Army Staff)
He served as the chief of army staff under the then president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He is an Igbo man from Isikwuato LGA of Abia state. He went through the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna where he became a commissioned officer.
General Azubuike Ihejirika was appointed the Chief Of Army Staff by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a position he held for four years (September 8, 2010) until his retirement in 2014 holding the office for the longest time any Igbo has been part of the security chiefs.
Amidst his service as Chief Of Army Staff was countless outrage over his inability to deal with terrorism in the wake of the Chibok girls abduction and many suicide bombings and Bokoharam attacks.
Not quite long after his service as Chief Of Army Staff, he was accused of co-sponsoring Bokoharam with a then-Senator, Ali Modu Sheriff. He was however acquitted of these claims made by an Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis, who was working with the military in the rescue of the Chibok girls.
He relocated to his hometown in Abia State after the end of his service where he received a chieftaincy title of “Dike Abia”.
Currently, he is actively involved in politics and announced that he has joined the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Admiral Joseph Ezeoba (Chief Of Naval Staff)
Born in Jos, Plateau State, Joseph Ezeoba decided to tow the path of service in the military when he enrolled in the Nigeria Defense Academy, Kaduna, and further went to Britannia Royal Naval College.
In October 2014, he was appointed the 20th Nigerian Naval Chief after holding several other leadership positions in the Nigerian Navy making him the last of the security chiefs from the southeast.
The last major news item associated with Ezeoba is a Sahara Reporters news about him from 2017. He was alleged to have diverted more than 2 billion naira for which EFCC asked that the court order a forfeiture into the purse of the federal government.
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By Prince Chime, Nsukka