Former Military Administrator of Ogun State, Navy Commodore Kayode Olofinmoyin (rtd), has condemned the composition of the National Security Council for being heavily skewed in favour of one particular section of the country.
Olofinmoyin made the explosive remarks yesterday at the Leaders News House Peace, Unity and Security Lecture Series chaired by former Governor Adamawa State, Mr. Boni Haruna at the ECOWAS main auditorium, Asokoro, Abuja.
Commenting on the theme of the discussion: ‘Sustainable Peace: The Divide of a Growing Nation,’ Olofinmoyin described the make-up of the national security structure as a clear example of political inequality in the country and one of the reasons elevating ethnic tension in the country.
He described as unhealthy for national unity and peace a situation where nine out of the 11 members on the National Security Council are from the Northern part of the country.
“We are practicing the Presidential system of government which promotes equality and the rule of law. But if you don’t guarantee equality like we don’t in Nigeria, you cannot have peace, you cannot have progress and you cannot develop.
“Let me go straight away to address Mr. President. People have said with the political inequality as it is in Nigeria today, you cannot have peace. I cannot have trust in the government. Let me give you a very good example because security is the first thing. And then people must separate your security infrastructure-the security team,” Olofinmoyin said.
However, there was mild drama in the auditorium as while the retired officer, who served as a military administrator in the Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd) regime spoke his mind, there was a subtle attempt by the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office (GSO) OSGF, Dr. Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri, to stop him.
Mbaeri, who was obviously not feeling uncomfortable with the views by Olofinmoyin, literally vacated his seat on the podium and took a back seat backstage.
Olofinmoyin said aside from the President, the majority of the members of the security councils, including the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd); the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen Attahiru Ibrahim; the Director-General, Department of State Services; Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi; the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; the Chief of Navy Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo; and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu are all Northerners.
He said the only Southerners in the council are the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj Gen Lucky Irabor and the Chief of Air Staff AVM Isiaka Amao.
“So in your National Security Council of 11, you have nine northerners and two southerners. Look, I am telling you as a practitioner, a former governor of a state, a General, and I am 70 years old, when you go to such meeting, those two southerners are just there as onlookers. Who is going to believe in the outcome of such a security meeting and you say it is national,” Olofinmoyin said.
He said the prevailing herdsmen clashes, spate of killings and kidnapping occur because of the ethnic imbalance in the national security council, while asking the federal government to correct the inequality as it is a sure way to guarantee peace.
Reporting from oto’edo the land of igodomigodo