By Jacob Kubeka (ABUJA) –
The military career of about 24 Major Generals in the Nigerian Army may soon come to a ‘sudden’ end following the appointment of Major General Faruq Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
President Muhammadu Buhari on May 27, 2021 appointed Yahaya, an indigene of Sokoto State in North-West Nigeria to succeed Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, the immediate-past COAS who died in an air crash at the Kaduna International Airport about two weeks ago.
According to a report by PRNigeria, an Abuja-based online medium with strong links with Nigeria’s military, the 24 Generals, comprising 13 from the North and 11 from the South, are senior to Faruq, who is also the immediate-past Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, in North-eastern Nigeria
A document showing those above the new COAS in terms of seniority, which PRNigeria analyzed, indicated that the North West, the place Faruq hails from, has three Major Generals who are above him, in seniority. They include Major Generals MSA Aliyu, YP Auta, and J Sarham.
The four Generals from the North Central above the new Army Chief are JO Akomolafe, UM Mohammed, NE Angbazo, and Kay Isiyaku.
That of the North East, who are six in number, include Major Generals AS Maikobi, SA Yaro, AT Hamman, AM Aliyu, HPZ Vintenaba, and IM Yusuf.
From the South West, these five Major Generals–JB Olawumi, G Oyefesobi, BM Shafa, BA Akinroluyo, and KO Kadiri–are Faruq’s senior in the Army.
There are Generals CO Ude, MO Uzoh, CC Okonkwo, BI Ahanotu, and OF Azinta, all from the South East, who ‘senior’ the newly appointed COAS.
Major General HE Ayamasaowei from Bayelsa State is the only Army senior officer from the South-South who is also Faruq’s senior.
There are nevertheless over 100 officers on the rank of Major General currently in the Nigerian Army. The 2-star Major General rank in the Army is equivalent to Rear Admiral in the Navy and Air Vice Marshal in the Airforce.
The choice of Faruk, according to a retired military officer who spoke to PRNigeria on anonymity was because the new COAS belongs to the elite infantry corps that belongs to the combat and operational forces in the Army.
“The Nigerian Army as a multidisciplinary arm has some Major Generals that senior Faruk Yahaya but are neither from combat nor in the combat supporting corps known as fighting arms.
“In terms of military operation officers from the infantry, armour, and artillery are usually knowledgeable and skilful on battlegrounds and counter-insurgency operations.
“Other corps from intelligence, signals, police and engineering provide supporting roles. Some other Major Generals are in the administrative and general corps such as Public Relations, Education, Medical and Chaplaincy among others whose roles do not include combat operations,” he said
Meanwhile, PRNigeria also reported that since the return of democracy in 1999, seven Christians and four Muslims have been appointed Chiefs of Army Staff. The North-West produced five and South-South produced three COAS’. The North-Central, South-East and North-East produced one each while South-West did not produce any Chief of Army Staff.
The Army Chiefs who were later promoted from Major Generals to Lieutenant-Generals since 1999 included Victor Malu from Benue/North Central 1999-2001; Alex Ogomudia – Delta South-South 2001-2003; Martin Luther Agwai from Kaduna, North West 2003-2006; Owoye Andrew Azazi from Bayelsa, South-South 2006-2007 and Luka Yusuf from Kaduna North-West 2007 – 2008.
Others are Abdulrahman Dambazau from Kano, North-West 2008-2010; Azubuike Ihejirika from Abia, South-East 2010-2014; Kenneth Minimah from Rivers, South-South 2014-2015; Tukur Buratai from Borno, North East 2015-2021 and Attahiru Ibrahim from Kaduna, North West – Kaduna 2021-2021.
The newly appointed Army Chief, Farouk Yahaya from Sokoto Muslim/North West assumed office on May 28, 2021.