The Minister of Defence, Monsur Dan-Ali, on Friday revisited President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate scandal by lambasting the then leadership of the Nigerian Army under Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah.
Dan-Ali said that it was inconceivable for the former Chief of Army Staff to say that Buhari, who was a former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, did not have the requisite West African School Certificate for the last presidential election.
The minister made the comment on the first day of his assumption of office as the new Minister of Defence in Abuja on Friday. He said that the army leadership should have opposed the claim that Buhari had no certificate even if it meant losing their jobs.
He said, “Where was your integrity when your own Chief of Army Staff stood up and said his Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces had no WAEC certificate. How?
“Please, let us be sincere with ourselves because (on) that very day, you should have stood up and said ‘no’; but because you were there, you could not. If you leave the job, is that the end of your life? If you leave the job, there are other ways, better ways (through which) God can bless your life.”
Dan-Ali placed emphasis on integrity, honour and transparency as the core ethos of leadership and the military tradition.
He said that it would not be possible for anybody to be a good leader without the three qualities.
He said that the President had displayed a clear resolve to fight the insurgency in the North East and had shown leadership as a former military man, who should be emulated by all.
Dan-Ali urged those in positions of authorities to carry out their assignments with the fear of God whose grace gave them the privilege of being appointed into such positions.
He said, “The President has clearly and openly shown that he is ready to fight insurgency in Nigeria. Gentlemen, the military is all about leadership. The President is a military man and he has shown leadership.
“We, the followers, must show leadership. And what is leadership, if I may ask? Leadership is all about integrity, honesty and transparency. There cannot be a good leader without these three things.
“You cannot be a good leader if you do not have integrity, you cannot be a good leader if you are not honest, and also, transparent. Forget about corruption. Corruption can never come near you if you have these qualities.
“So gentlemen, we should embed these three qualities. We are all selected here by the Grace of the Almighty God. We are in our positions because of the grace of God; it is not because you are better than any other person in your locality or in your course. It is not because you are the best. So you should be answerable to the Almighty God who has honoured us and given us this leadership positions.”
The minister, who also emphasised the importance of troops’ welfare to the present administration, said that troops’ deployment in the operational areas should not go beyond a year.
Dan-Ali said that it was not right for soldiers to be deployed for operations without seeing their loved ones indefinitely.
He said that it would be a major policy under his tenure as Minister of Defence that soldiers were not made to spend more than a year in the operational areas.
He said, “Troops rotation; gentlemen, let’s not take it as a joke, if the Chief of Army Staff is deployed in the front without seeing his family, how would he feel? So also for the soldier you are sending there. Please for God’s sake, let’s make it a maximum of one year.”
He also called on the three services of the military to place emphasis on joint operations in order to achieve desired objectives.