Buhari To Appoint New Service Chiefs Replaces As Olonisakin, Ibas Bow Out
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the retirement from service of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, and the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas.
It was gathered from highly placed military sources that the Minister of Defence, Brig.- Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), has since sent letters to the Service Chiefs, wherein they were directed to handover on or before Friday, December 16.
It was gathered that Olonisakin and Ibas’ disengagements were based on their attaining the official years of retirement from the military. Available records indicate that the Service Chiefs belong to the Regular Course 26 of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
While Olonisakin was commissioned Second Lieutenant on December 18, 1981, Ibas’ commissioning took place in 1983. One of the sources, who spoke in confidence, said the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, will take over from Olonisakin in acting capacity.
Abubakar is the most senior Service Chief after Olonisakin, who was the Head of the Nigerian Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Niger State. A former President of a Special Court-Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, is to assume the position of CAS, also in acting capacity.
“I can tell you reliably now that President Buhari has replaced the Chief of Defence State, Gen. Olonisakin, and the Naval Chief, Ibas. “Don’t forget that they are due for retirement, since they both belong to the 26 Regular Course on NDA.
“Also note that the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal S. Abubakar, will now assume the CDS position, as the next most senior of the Service Chiefs. “Already, the Minister of Defence has sent letters to the affected senior officers,” the source said.
It was not clear as at the time of filing this report who will replace Ibas. By this development, only the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant- General Tukur Buratai, retained his position.
President Buhari may adhere largely to the principle of seniority in his choice of substantive appointments. It will be recalled that Olonisakin and other Service Chiefs were appointed by President Buhari in July, 2015.