The Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi-Magashi, has said that decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Major General Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff is based on competence.
The Minister added that Buhari didn’t consider ethnic or religious factors but only national interest in choosing the new Army chief.
The appointment of a northern Muslim by the President has attracted various reactions and criticisms from some sections of the public.
Defence Minister made the disclosure in a statement on Friday, by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mohammad Abdulkadri, who said President Buhari had put “national interest above ethnic and religious chauvinism”.
The Minister described Yahaya as the right person for the job and expressed confidence in the ability of the new Chief of Staff to deliver.
He said Yahaya is a professional soldier with a track record of competence and successes behind him who is also familiar with the fight against insurgency.
According to him, “The Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) has commended the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for the well thought out Strategic appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya, the 22nd Chief of Army Staff as replacement for the late Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru who died in a plane crash alongside ten others last Friday in Kaduna.
“The appointment of General Yahaya, President Buhari has expediently put national interest above ethnic and religious chauvinism by fulfilling all requirements necessary.
“These include his unblemished track records of service, Professional, Command and Operational competences among other yardsticks that culminated into his emergence as most suitably qualified new Army boss.
“The Defence Minister expressed optimism in the professional pedigree of the former theatre Commander Operation “Hadin Kai” General Yahaya in sustaining the trajectory of taking offensive and aggressive campaigns to the camps, corridors and cells of the adversaries with a view to obliterating them.
“As a battle Commander with remarkable exploits and considerable experience, exposure and expertise he will be committed to the new battle plans and philosophy of Jointness among Services and other security agencies in combat which are some of the legacies of his predecessor.
“While pledging the support of the Ministry of Defence under his watch to the new Army boss in carrying out his mandate, the minister said plans are in the pipeline by the Federal Government to immortalise late General Attahiru and others who died in the plane crash.
“This according to him is aimed at immortalising them and to ensure that their sacrifices as national heroes in keeping the nation safe and secured are not in vain.”