Service Chiefs: Coalition wants President Buhari to honour outgoing officers with GCON national awards

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The Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Good Governance and Transparency has called on the Federal Government to confer the national award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) on the outgoing service chiefs.

According to the coalition, the now-retired military heads served Nigeria well, displaying unalloyed patriotism and commitment, hence they should be honoured to encourage others to strive for excellence.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Tuesday, appointed new service chiefs following the immediate resignation and retirement of their predecessors.

Read also: Service Chiefs: Coalition wants President Buhari to honour outgoing officers with GCON national awards

Those involved are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

President Buhari thanked the outgoing military chiefs for their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,” wishing them well in their future endeavours.

And in a statement co-signed by Dr Emmanuel Ogar and Abubakar Gana, the coalition said the service chiefs merit the second-highest national honours in the land having defended our territorial integrity, fought against external aggression and maintained law and order.

The group noted that they carried out these functions so well that a vast portion of the country which had been tormented by terrorists was recaptured and the people liberated.

The Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Good Governance and Transparency, therefore, vowed to commence the process of submitting nominations on their behalf for the awards.

The statement added that they are eminently qualified due to the services they rendered to the country.

Read the full statement below:

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You all aware that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday, accepted the immediate resignation of Service Chiefs and their retirement from service.

Those affected were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

Before appointing new sets of officers to take their place, President Buhari in a rare show of emotion thanked the former chiefs for what he called their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country and wished them well in their future endeavours.

From this, we can deduce that the President appreciated their service and commitment to the fatherland and will miss their dedication to duty and sense of patriotism.

It is at this point that we want to suggest to the Federal Government to honour these well-deserving Nigerians to encourage others to strive for excellence.

Every year the Federal Government awards national honours to deserving Nigerians who have served the nation well.

We make bold to say that the immediate past set of service chiefs who retired on Wednesday, have from all indices, served Nigeria well.

From the Chief of Defence Staff to the Chief of Army Staff, to the Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Navy. They were exceptionally good.

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For the little over five years that they were in office, they were able to defend the territorial integrity of the nation, fight against external aggression and maintain law and order within the country.

They carried out these functions so well that a vast portion of the country which had been tormented by terrorists was recaptured and the people liberated.

These tested military chiefs were able to achieve all these because they were coordinated, blended so well and worked as a team.

They are shiny examples of what can be achieved if people unite and work together for a common goal.

We believe it would be in the interest of Nigeria and her citizens,  that these set of chiefs who have done well for the country be rewarded as they deserve to be given special recognition due to their service to fatherland.

It is in line with this belief that we shall commence the process of submitting nominations on their behalf for the Nigerian National Honours award.

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The honours award as we are all aware, was instituted by the National Honors Act No. 5 of 1964, during the First Republic, to honour Nigerians who have rendered service for the benefit of the nation.

The types include the order of the Federal Republic and Order of the Niger with each category having a Grand Commander, Commander, Officer and Member.

Since the Grand Commander is usually given to Presidents and Heads of State, we will be submitting nominations for the immediate past service chiefs to be honoured with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, award.

We have gone through the processes for the award and we have found that they are eminently qualified due to the services they rendered the country more so as the award is said to be to encourage people to do more, to promote excellence and patriotism, to promote selfless and meritorious service.

Nigeria has had numerous sets service chiefs but none have blended like these that just retired that we feel it will not be right to let them go like that but we must do something in recognition of their efforts.

With the benefit of hindsight, one can say that these set of service chiefs were intellectually fitted and mentally equipped for the job.

They chased away terrorists, insurgents and bandits from the country and made life worth a living in Nigeria.

Their tenure stopped the corruption in the system and brought accountability to the handling and purchase of military equipment unlike in the past.

These set of chefs can hold their heads high in any part of the globe due to their high professionalism and dedication to duty.

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They were bold, courageous and focussed and did not lose sight of their target despite the many attempts to distract them.

They displayed rare patriotism in the fight against terrorism and insurgency to the extent of putting their lives on the line going against banditry,  terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery and other security threats.

They are leaving with a clean record of excellence in the discharge of their responsibilities as the security situation in Nigeria improved over the years due to their efforts.

They have succeeded in setting a standard that anyone succeeding them would find difficult to fill.

They were visionaries of the best order and we have no qualms recommending for recognition and higher responsibilities in future.

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