Following the tragic demise of Nigeria’s twenty-first Army Chief, Late Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, the search for a successor has commenced.
The late Attahiru, along with ten other other military officers, died in a plane crash Friday evening, near the Kaduna airport, while on official trip. They were buried on Saturday.
Among the deceased were the Chief of Military Intelligence, Brig-Gen. Kuliya, and Provost Marshall, Brig-Gen. Olayinka.
Meanwhile, speculations are rife that Major General Danjuma Ali-Keffi, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of Nigerian Army, Kaduna, may become the new COAS.
However, Ali-Keffi, a Nasarawa indigene, is not among the most senior Army officers. There are more than 30 Major Generals above him.
At a time Nigeria is at war with terrorists and bandits, President Muhammadu Buhari is not expected to allow dozens of Generals to retire in one fell swoop.
A top military officer disclosed that several factors are considered for the appointment of service chiefs beyond seniority.
“The President has the discretion to appoint anyone he wishes, or probably a nomination from the Minister of Defence. Apart from seniority, officers considered must be grounded in military operations and intelligence”, he said.
There are other officers being appraised.
The Chief of Policy and Plan, Major General Ben Ahanotu of Regular Course 35 from Anambra State. He was the commander of the operation that captured Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf and his followers at their hideout in Maiduguri in 2009 before handing them over to the Police.
Major General AM Aliyu of Regular Course 36 from Gombe State is another operation officer. He is the Chief of Administration and former Director Foreign Liaison at the Defence Intelligence Agency. He was responsible for processing intelligence for military operations.
Major General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf of Regular Course 37 from Yobe State. He is Chief of Operation and former Force Commander Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF. Yusuf, formerly of the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, lectured at the Nigerian Defence College, NDC, Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, and Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre, NAPKC, Jaji.
Major General Faruk Yahaya of Regular Course 37 from Zamfara State. He is the current Theatre Commander Operation in the North-East and former General Officer Commanding Officer, 1 Division.