Dr. Muhammad Junaid, a second republic lawmaker has called on members of the National Assembly to pass a law to stop the nepotism and disrespect for public opinion of Nigerians following President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of the former service chiefs for ambassadorial appointments.
In an interview with VANGUARD on Thursday, the former lawmaker said the law should make it mandatory that any service chief or uniformed personnel upon completion of service should stay for seven years before the next appointment into any political office.
He further opined that the country should take a leaf from the United States of America where the law is in operation. “The President has the prerogative to appoint anybody as an ambassador, but the National Assembly can help the country by passing a law stipulating that one must spend a certain number of years after active service before being appointed into any top government position. For example, in the US, if a General or whatever rank retires from service, he would not be appointed into a top political post until seven years after service.
In his words, “that is what happened lately with General Mattis who was Trump’s Defence Minister. Just right now, the US has a replacement with the appointment of General Lloyd Austin.
So, in the two cases, the Presidents, Trump and Biden who appointed them had to ask for a special dispensation and a waiver from the Congress before they were deemed fit for the appointment and waivers were granted them. Mattis served under Trump and Lloyd Austin has just taken over under Biden administration.
“I think to avoid this kind of mediocrity by Buhari and his government. It is better for the NASS to establish a marker that if you have been a Service Chief or Senior General or whatever, you cannot be appointed into a civilian office until you have spent a certain number of years out of service.
Nigeria should therefore take a leaf from American because it will avoid this kind of nonsense. People using their friends or relations or in-laws to give them to evolving door, once they are out of uniform they immediately get top political assignment which confirms the high level nepotism of Buhari in the history of this country.
“So it is important for the NASS to now step in and establish either a resolution or a law” he said.
“In the case of Nigeria too, when the civil war started, there were some Generals who were senior to Gowon, the then Head of State. They were sent outside the country. Some of them include Brigadier General Ogundipe, George (Moscow), and in the other years some Generals like Colonel Sani Bello (Zimbabwe), and others like Major General Zamani Lewkot (Senegal).
“Unfortunately, in the case of Buhari, it was a clear case of nepotism and disrespect for public opinion and insult to the people of Nigeria because no law or waiver from the NASS or nothing to say that this person has nowhere to go or too junior to be retired but he is just doing it for his own greed and selfish interest,” Dr Junaid said.