President Goodluck Jonathan retains General Azubuike Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff


President Goodluck Jonathan’s retention  General Azubuike Ihejirika as chief of army staff was a “tactical move” to manage tension within the armed forces..

The source said that the president had planned to elevate Lt Gen Ihejirika to chief of defence staff (CDS), replacing Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, who was eventually retired yesterday, and penciled in Maj.-Gen Kenneth Minimah, GOC 81 Division, for his new chief of army staff.

Sources say that President had to change his mind at the eleventh hour when he discovered that there were still many army generals who were senior to General Minimah in hierarchy and rank. “For the president to appoint General Kenneth Minimah as new chief of army staff, it means that many senior officers in the army would have to be retired prematurely,” It was learnt that Lt General Ihejirika would occupy his present position for the next one year before General Mininah could be considered for the position, to allow other senior military officers to attain their retirement age or years in service.

Maj Gen Minimah was, before his appointment as GOC 81 Division, the brigade commander, 1 Brigade, Sokoto, and was also a principal staff officer to a former defence minister.

President Jonathan yesterday approved the appointment of Vice Admiral Ola Ibrahim as the new chief of defence staff. He replaced Air Chief Marshal Petinrin.

A statement by Dr Reuben Abati, the special adviser to the president (media and publicity), in Abuja yesterday also named Rear Adm. Dele Ezeoba as the new chief of naval staff, while Air Vice Marshal Alex S. Badeh takes charge as the chief of air staff.

The statement said that the incumbent chief of army staff, Lt.-Gen. Ihejirika, retained his position.

It quoted Jonathan as thanking the outgoing military chiefs for their meritorious service to the nation. He wished them well in their future endeavours.

Vice Admiral Ola Sa’ad 
Vice Admiral Ibrahim was born on June 15, 1955.  A graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, he trained with the Royal and Indian navies.  Vice Admiral Ibrahim is a navigation and direction specialist. 

He holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Ahmadu Bello University.  He was at the Royal College of Defence Studies, UK, as a member in 2002, where he also obtained a Master’s degree from the Department of War Studies and Public Policy at the Kings’ College, University of London.

Admiral Ibrahim had tours of duty on Nigerian naval ships in various capacities and is decorated with the Command of Sea badge for successful command at sea on various Nigerian naval ships.  He was a directing staff and a chief Instructor at the Department of Maritime Warfare, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji.  He was also secretary to the chief of the naval staff before he was appointed to command the naval operations base, Nigerian naval ship BEECROFT, in 2001.

In 2003, Admiral Ibrahim served as commander, naval task group  Operation HARMONY in the Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, before he went to the National Defence College as a directing staff later that year. He left the National Defence College for the Naval Headquarters as navy secretary in August 2005. He returned to the College as director, curriculum and programmes development, in May 2006. 

It was from this appointment that he headed back to the Naval Headquarters as chief of administration and subsequently chief of training and operations. In February 2009, he was appointed flag officer commanding Western Naval Command, the appointment he held until his elevation as the chief of the naval staff on September 8, 2010. He was subsequently elevated to the position of chief of defence staff on October 4, 2012.

Air Vice Marshal AS Badeh 
Air Vice Marshal Badeh was born in Vimtim, Mubi North local government area, Adamawa State, on January 10, 1957. He attended the Villanova Secondary School, Numan, Adamawa State, where he obtained the School Certificate in June 1976. He was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy as a member of the 21 Regular Course on  January 3, 1977, and was commissioned pilot officer on July 3, 1979. He was promoted air vice marshal on January 3, 2008.

He started his flying career at the 301 Flying Training School on the Bulldog Primary Trainer aircraft in 1979. Between 1981 and 82, he attended undergraduate pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in the United States Air Force.

He attended the junior division course at Armed Forces Command and Staff College in 1988, and the senior division course at the same institution between 1995 and 1996. He attended the National War College as a member of Course 14 and graduated in August 2006. He was at the University of Ibadan for an M.Sc in Strategic Studies.

AVM Badeh has held several appointments, among which are staff officer, 2 Operations, at Training Command; CO, administration, operations support and operations wings, and then the office of fleet operations officer all in the presidential air fleet. He was commander, presidential air fleet, from June 2002 to October 25, 2004. He also held the offices of command training officer at Training Command; deputy director, training; and director of research at the Defence HQ.

AVM Badeh was a directing staff and director, national military strategy, at the National Defence College. The senior officer is a qualified flying instructor and has accumulated over 6,000 flying hours on the Bulldog 123, Do 128-6, Do 228, Hawker 125, Hawker 1000, Falcon 900 and Gulfstream 5 airplanes. AVM Badeh has extensive international flight operations experience. Until his appointment as chief of the air staff, he was the air officer commanding, Training Command, Kaduna.

Rear Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba 
Rear Admiral Ezeoba was born on July 25, 1958, in Jos, Plateau State, although he hails from Ibusa in Oshimili North local government area of Delta State.  A graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Regular Course 22 and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, he trained at various times with the United States, Royal and Indian navies. 

Rear Admiral Ezeoba is a navigation and direction specialist and holds a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan

Author: nmmin

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